"Dumbo" octopus rears adorable head on video for first time

One glance at the image below and you will know where the Dumbo octopus gets its name. The giant "ears" on top of the cephalopod's head are fins that it uses to swim. The image is of an adult Dumbo octopus, but the video shows a tiny octopus caught on camera for the first time.

Eggs for this octopus were first discovered in 2005 during the Deep Atlantic Stepping Stones mission. The eggs were discovered attached to coral branches in the Northwest Atlantic at a depth of 1.2 miles and looked like small, tan golf balls. Several samples were collected with a remotely operated vehicle to determine what they were.

Researcher Tim Shank notes that the first few of the balls were open and empty, but the next two had white gelatinous mass inside. One was placed in a bucket of water in the cold room of the ship. The egg was 14 x 19mm. When the scientist later went to remove the bucket from the room, the egg had hatched.

The researcher says that the octopus was wiggling out of the egg, backside first followed by fins and tentacles. As soon as the fins were observed, the scientist knew it was a Dumbo octopod. This was the first time that a live hatchling was observed.

The creature was observed for two hours and MRI scans were taken to study the creature's anatomy. The octopus is in the genus Grimpoteuthis, but the species is unknown. One interesting tidbit is that the octopus was born fully formed with everything needed to live independently in the environment.

SOURCE: Science Alert