Deepest ever octopus sighting recorded 23,000 feet below the surface

Elusive ‘dumbo’ octopus is filmed in Java Trench 23,000 feet below the ocean surface, breaking the previous record for deepest octopus sighting ever

  •  A team of researchers in Java observed a rare ‘dumbo’ octopus
  • The sighting took place at 23,000 feet, the deepest recorded octopus encounter
  • The previous record was set in 1950 near Barbados at around 16,500 feel deep 

Researchers off the coast of Java have set a new record for the deepest ever encounter recorded with a ‘Dumbo’ octopus.

The record-setting event happened in the Java Trench at a depth of around 23,000 feet as part of the Five Deeps Expedition, a mission to travel to the deepest point in each of the world’s five major oceans.

The observation was made not by a human diver, but a submersible designed to slowly descend to the sea floor while recording everything that passes in front of it.

Researchers on the Five Deeps Expedition to explore the deepest points in the world’s five major oceans observed a ‘dumbo’ octopus at 23,000 deep in the Java Trench, the deepest ever octopus sighting on record

According to Dr. Alan Jamieson, who helped organize the mission, the octopus sighting is testament to how resilient and adaptable the animals are, capable of surviving on 99% of the world’s seafloor.

‘This idea that only animals in a kind of Victorian freak show live at depth isn’t right,’ Jamieson said in an interview with the BBC.

Dumbo octopus are part of the grimpoteuthis family and got their name because of the distinctive elephant-ear-like flaps on either side of their head.

They’re sometimes also called ‘umbrella’ octopuses because of the wide, wing-like skirting around their tentacles.

According to Jamieson, the octopus’s adaptability comes from its unique cellular structure.

The researchers actually broke the record twice, with a second ‘dumbo’ octopus sighting at 19,000 feet while the submersible was still descending

‘If you imagine a cell is like a balloon – it’s going to want to collapse under pressure,’ Jamieson said.

‘So, it will need some smart biochemistry to make sure it retains that sphere.’

‘All the adaptations you need to live at pressure are at the cellular level.’

The previous record for the deepest dumbo octopus sighting was set in 1950 near Barbados, around 16,500 feet below the surface.

Technically the Five Deeps Expedition submersible broke that record twice, not just once, as it also recorded a second dumbo octopus while it was still descending, at a depth of around 19,000 feet.

Other locations visited as part of the expedition include the Puerto Rico Trench, Mariana Trench, South Sandwich Trench, and the Titanic wreck in the Atlantic Ocean.

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