Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by The Wonder Team. The Wonder Team Wonders, “What is a Dumbo Octopus? ” Thanks for WONDERing with us, The Wonder Team!

Earth’s seas are full of beautiful creatures. Do you have a favorite marine animal? Maybe you love seeing dolphins or jellyfish. Many people love octopuses! And for good reason. They are unlike anything we see on land. They stand out with their tentacles, ink sacs, and squishy bodies. Not to mention their huge, floppy ears!

What, you didn’t know octopuses have floppy ears? Well, they’re not really ears. But one genus of octopus does sport big, floppy fins that look like ears. The scientific name for this group is Grimpoteuthis. But people have also given them a more fitting name. It’s based on a certain animated character. Most people know these animals as dumbo octopuses!

In total, there are over 15 species of dumbo octopus. Experts don’t think they’re at risk of extinction, but it is very rare to see one. Why? Dumbo octopuses live very deep in the ocean. In fact, their habitat is deeper underwater than that of any other octopus. Many of them live 13,000 feet below the surface. 

Dumbo octopuses are special in a few other ways, too. They’re the only octopuses that don’t shoot ink. And the way they swim is different, too. Most of their eight-tentacled cousins get around by shooting water out of siphons. Instead, the dumbo octopus swims around with the use of its ear-like fins. 

Just how big is a dumbo octopus? They can vary from eight inches to six feet long. And, like other types of octopus, they can change color. This helps them hide from predators. It also lets them blend in with their surroundings while hunting their prey. 

A dumbo octopus’s diet is made up of smaller animals it finds near the ocean floor. This includes worms, snails, and clams. The ocean floor is also where dumbo octopuses lay their eggs. They attach the eggs to rocks to keep them safe until they hatch. 

Where are you most likely to spot what many call the world’s cutest cephalopod? Just go deep-sea diving in any ocean of the world. Dumbo octopuses are known to live all over the planet, including near New Zealand and California.

How would you like to see a dumbo octopus one day? Can you imagine an octopus that’s even cuter? You never know what you’ll find below the ocean’s surface. Experts estimate up to two-thirds of sea life has yet to be found!


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Attention all predators and prey! Tomorrow's Wonder of the Day is all about you!