Friday, April 20, 2018

New Species of Octopus Discovered in Most Unusual Location

Image Credit: Phil Torres and Geoff Wheat
 A team of geochemists has discovered a new species of octopus while exploring a two kilometre ridge of cooled lava named Dorado Outcrop off the coast of Costa Rica 3 kilometres beneath the ocean surface. The original purpose of the mission was to collect samples of heated fluids leaking from the sea floor.
 Through the analysis of over 230 hours of footage, it was found that the octopuses are roughly the size of a dinner plate, with huge pink eyes. The species likely belongs in the genus Muusoctopus. It was also found that the entire population was female, with each huddling around broods of eggs.
 What surprised scientists about this discovery was that these octopuses were found in a group of dozen, when octopuses are usually solitary creatures. Further still, the proximity of the specimens to thermal vents was suicidal - similar species prefer a constant cool temperature as warm temperatures threaten the creatures' metabolism.
"Octopus females only produce one clutch of eggs in their lives. For this huge population to be sustained, there must be even more octopuses to replace the dying mothers and eggs that we can see," said zoologist Janet Voight from the Field Museum in Chicago. "Never would I have anticipated such a dense cluster of these animals at 3,000 meters depth, and we argue that the numbers of octopuses we see are simply the surplus population."

Read more about this fascinating story at: https://www.sciencealert.com/new-octopus-species-discovered-record-depths-basalt-ridge
Or read the full study at: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S096706371730256X?via%3Dihub 

Image Credit: Phil Torres and Geoff Wheat

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