With flappy fins that hang down past the eyes, this octopus looks like an oceanic version of Dumbo, the elephant from the Disney movie who is able to fly with his wing-like very large ears.
Octopuses are part of a class of animals called Cephalopoda and are collectively referred to as cephalopods. The word cephalopod means “head foot” and originates from the Greek word kephalé for “head” and pous for “foot”.
Cephalopods are predatory mollusks that also include nautiluses, squid, and cuttlefish. Members of this class have the common characteristics of being able to change colors and textures, squirt ink as a defensive mechanism, have three hearts to pump blood, and are jet-powered. Cephalopods are found in all of the world’s oceans from the poles to the tropics. This class of animals exists at all depths of the ocean from intertidal zones to the deep ocean.
Dumbo octopuses are members of the Grimpoteuthis genus and live in the deep ocean; most species of this type of octopus are found living at depths of 3,000 to 4,000 metres (9,800 to 13,100 ft). These octopus tend to hover above the seafloor as they search for their prey, mainly shrimp and crab. Dumbo octopuses are rather small, tending to be on average about eight inches in length.
This video captured by Nautilus Live shows the Dumbo Octopus in action. As Timothy Q. Mouse would say, “Hot diggety! You’re flyin’! You’re flyin’!”