‘Dumbo octopus’ sighted in mile-deep waters of Pacific Ocean northwest of Hawaii

HONOLULU — Scientists exploring deep waters northwest of the Hawaiian Islands have released a video of a rare “Dumbo octopus” that was sighted about a mile beneath the surface of the Pacific Ocean.

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The video, released by Exploration Vessel Nautilus, shows the octopus drifting through deep water, KHON-TV reported. It gets its name because of its two large fins that look like ears, drawing comparisons to Dumbo, the beloved Disney animated flying elephant, according to Hawaii News Now.

The octopus was sighted while the exploration team was mapping the floor of the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument during a livestream dive, the news outlet reported.

“When I saw it on the screen, I couldn’t even say anything,” Jaina Galves, who was controlling the underwater camera, told ABC News. “My jaw was just on the floor.”

The octopus uses its ear-like fins to propel itself through the water in search of snails and other invertebrates to eat, according to The Washington Post.

This species is able to live at depths of up to 13,000 feet, according to Oceana, an environmental group. Because it has few predators at that depth, the Dumbo octopus does not have an ink sac. Its predators include deep-diving animals such as tunas, sharks, and dolphins.

“Each time, you’re kind of just roaming around with the ROV (remotely operated vehicle),” Galves, who is the video engineer intern for Oceana, told KHON. “Somebody’s like, ‘Wait, what is that in the corner,’ and then everybody starts to gasp, everybody starts to freak out. And everybody’s like, ‘Dumbo octopus!’ So we take the ROV over, we go, and we follow them. They move very slowly and very gracefully, so we get to follow them for quite a while.”

The Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, is a sanctuary that covers more than 500,000-square-miles and is larger than all U.S. national parks combined, according, the Post reported.

The monthlong trip, funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, is ending in two days, according to KHON.

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