Deep-Sea Octopus Enthralls Scientists With Otherworldy 'Show'

The Cirroteuthid octopus with billowing arms was caught on camera by researchers from the vessel E/V Nautilus.

Deep-sea scientists can hardly contain their awe and delight at the spectacle of a beautiful octopus seen in a new video from research vessel E/V Nautilus.

In the video, posted on YouTube earlier this week, researchers can be heard marveling over the cephalopod’s arms as they slowly balloon out in a parachute-like way.

“He’s really putting on a show for us,” one researcher says.

The team believes the octopus is part of the scientific family Cirroteuthidae, though they’re unsure of the exact species. Invertebrate zoologist Mike Vecchione said in a statement that the octopus appears “closest” to the species Cirrothauma magna, though it could be also be one of several “undescribed species” that exist.

The scientists say in the clip that the octopus’ behavior seems to be a tactic to scare off potential threats ― like the remotely operated vehicle (ROV) doing the filming, which the octopus may have perceived as a possible predator.

“He wants us to know he’s too big to slurp,” another researcher’s voice can be heard saying.

After noting the octopus seemed “unnerved” by the ROV’s presence, they back it up a bit and continue filming from farther away.

Cirroteuthidae are known to inhabit remote depths near the ocean floor ― this one in particular was spotted at a depth of about 5,250 feet. The video was shot during exploration near Baker Island, an atoll in the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument. The area is one of the world’s largest marine conservation areas and home to a multitude of wild birds and sea life, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.



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