Deep beneath the waves, Halloween appears to have come early as researchers have discovered a rare “ghostly” octopus.
A team of ocean scientists discovered the rare “Dumbo” octopus 5,518 feet (1,682 meters) below the surface off the coast of Hawaii.
The crew of the remote-controlled Hercules vehicle can be heard screaming as the stunning creature comes into view.
‘Oh wow!’ said one researcher, while another joked that the octopus had “floppy, flappy ears.”
The Dumbo octopus gets its name from its striking resemblance to the 1941 cartoon character Dumbo the Elephant, with two large, ear-like fins protruding above its eyes.
Deep beneath the waves, Halloween appears to have come early as researchers have discovered a rare “ghostly” octopus
In the video, recorded by the Ocean Exploration Trust, the octopus can be seen flapping its “ears” to propel itself through the water.
As the footage shows, Dumbo octopuses also have neutral buoyancy, allowing them to float calmly through the pitch-black deep sea.
While this creature may seem bizarre to some, many commenters on social media found the gentle animal to be more cute than scary.
“Amazing!” wrote one excited commenter, adding that they wanted “a big plush toy of this adorable guy!”
“I could watch this octopus all day, what a beautiful creature,” said another, while a viewer added that the octopus was “shaped like a friend.”
At about 2 feet long, the specimen on film is quite large for a species that is often no more than 8 to 12 inches long.
However, this is just a small fry compared to the largest Dumbo octopus ever found, which measured 5 feet 10 inches long and weighed almost 6 kg.
The Dumbo octopus is the deepest diving of all octopuses, living at depths between 1,000 and 7,000 m. It is rare and uniquely adapted to the extreme living conditions on the ocean floor.
Thanks to their strong fins and control with their eight webbed limbs, these fascinating creatures can survive by eating any snails and worms they find on the seabed.
Because their limbs are supported by internal cartilage, they are also well adapted to the enormous pressure that exists at these depths.
At a depth of 1,500 meters the pressure is almost 150 times higher than on land, so most marine animals simply cannot survive.
The crew of the remote-controlled Hercules vehicle can be heard screaming as the stunning creature comes into view
In the video, recorded by the Ocean Exploration Trust, the octopus can be seen flapping its “ears” to propel itself through the water
The deepest documented sighting of a dumbo octopus occurred at a depth of over 23,000 feet (7 km) in the Java Trench – more than twenty times the height of the Shard in London.
With wildlife spread widely across the vast oceans, Dumbo octopuses must also be prepared to go for extended periods without seeing other octopuses, making finding a potential mate a real challenge.
To get around these difficulties, female Dumbos constantly have eggs in various stages of development, like cars running on an assembly line, so that they are ready to mate and lay eggs at every opportunity.
Scientists also believe that male dumbo octopuses store sperm in a special projection in one of their arms, which they can hand over to a female for safekeeping until the time is right to lay her eggs.
“Dumbo octopus” actually refers to a family of 17 different octopus species, but there may be more Dumbo octopus species to discover.
Just last year, a team of German scientists used MRI scans and DNA testing to identify a new species of dumbo octopus that had never been described by science before.
Previously undiscovered species are common at such extreme depths, meaning there are many more bizarre and spooky discoveries to be made.