Researchers recently spotted a rare "Dumbo" octopus during a deep sea expedition in the North Pacific Ocean.
The scientists noticed the rare sea creature on Sept. 13 while exploring the ocean floor at a depth of about 1,680 meters (about one mile) on an unnamed seamount in the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument (PMNM) – which is northwest of Hawaii.
During a live broadcast, captured by the Ocean Exploration Trust and NOAA, the scientists are heard marveling at the rare sighting as it comes into view. The researchers cite the stark contrast in color between the dark sea and the bright octopus.
"It’s so beautiful," one researcher says.
Dumbo octopus spotted by researchers during deep sea expedition. (Credit: Ocean Exploration Trust/NOAA via Storyful)
The researchers were conducting the expedition to explore unseen deep-sea habitats and were focused on a "largely unexplored northwestern section of the monument."
According to the Ocean Exploration Trust (OET), "Dumbo" octopuses are deep sea animals that live on the ocean floor at extreme depths and are typically spotted in the Central Pacific Ocean.
"Dumbo" octopuses are deep sea animals that live on the ocean floor at extreme depths. (Credit: Ocean Exploration Trust/NOAA via Storyful)
They are small animals, about 8 inches tall, and have a pair of fins located on their mantle and webbing between their arms. They propel themselves using "famous ear-shaped fins to find food, then gobble their prey up whole, feasting on a variety of deep sea critters such as copepods, isopods, bristle worms, and amphipods," said the OET.
PMNM is the largest marine protected area in the United States, covering over 1.5 million square kilometers.
This story was reported from Los Angeles. Storyful contributed.