Friday, 1 August 2008


I have taken on a new image for August (see left). Instead of my grumpy but lovable old friend the Blobfish (above) I’ve become a cheery little Dumbo Octopus or Grimpoteuthis. This is a benthic mollusc found on the ocean floor at depths of 300-400 meters.

The octopuses of the genus Grimpoteuthis are also known as "Dumbo octopuses" from the ear-like fins protruding from the top of their head-like bodies, resembling the ears of Walt Disney's flying elephant. They are benthic creatures, living at extreme depths: 300-400 meters, and are some of the rarest of the Octopoda species. They can flush the transparent layer of their skin at will, and are pelagic animals, as with all other cirrate octopuses, and unlike many other incirrate octopuses.

They hover above the sea floor, searching for worms, bivalves, pelagic copepods, and other crustaceans. They move by pulsing their arms, shooting water through their funnel, or by waving their ear-like fins. They can use each of these techniques separately or all simultaneously. The males and females are different in their size and sucker patterns. The females lay eggs consistently, with no distinct breeding season.


  1. I was under the impression that it was not possible to be both benthic and pelagic. Please explain!

  2. Well done, Helen, you spotted the totally conflicting statements!

    Benthic - living on or in the seabed or located on the bottom of a body of water or in the bottom sediment, or pertaining to bottom dwelling organisms.
    Pelagic - of, or performed on, the open sea/ belonging to the upper layers of open sea.

    Unfortunately, having simply pinched the descriptions from websites and not having swum out to check - I don't know which was the correct description but I suspect pelagic. I think the point that the various authors were trying to make was that they live in the open sea but at deep levels - presumably there is a word for that.


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