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Octopi With Ears and Fish that Walk: Freaky Unseen Sea Creatures From Deep Water

dumbo octopus

This video combines footage released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) documenting a recent expedition by the Okeanos Explorer in the deep waters off Puerto Rico. The octopus with ears is a dumbo octopus; the fish walking on feet is a sea toad; and the lightbulb-looking thing is a jellyfish. Video source: Sploid.

The following pictures come from the NOAA website and the captions included were written by NOAA.

Dumbo octopus

This rare dumbo octopus (Cirrothauma murrayi) is often called the Blind Octopod due to the lack of a lens and reduced retina in its eyes. Its eyes can really only detect light and cannot form images. Image courtesy of NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program, Océano Profundo 2015: Exploring Puerto Rico’s Seamounts, Trenches, and Troughs.

comb

Bathypelagic Ctenophore: Three of these wonderful animals were seen near the bottom on Dive 1 at about 4,000 meters. Eight rows of ciliated combs along the bottom of the body and very long tentacles originating from thick tentacle sheaths make this an unusual find. A similar animal was seen on a remotely operated vehicle dive over the Mid-Atlantic Ridge in 2010. Image courtesy of NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program.

jellynose

Potentially a new observation for Puerto Rico waters, this jellynose fish was observed at the end of our dive on Whiting Seamount at a depth of 545 meters. Image courtesy of NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program, Océano Profundo 2015: Exploring Puerto Rico’s Seamounts, Trenches, and Troughs

squat lobster

Despite its name, squat lobsters are most closely related to hermit crabs and mole crabs, not lobsters. We have seen them in a variety of colors during this cruise and past cruises, but the white ones seem to be a more common occurrence at deeper depths. Image courtesy of NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program, Océano Profundo 2015: Exploring Puerto Rico’s Seamounts, Trenches, and Troughs.

jellyfish

Jellyfish spotted by D2. Image courtesy of NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program, Océano Profundo 2015: Exploring Puerto Rico’s Seamounts, Trenches, and Troughs.

squid

ROV Deep Discoverer, meet squid. Squid, meet D2. D2 had a fantastic encounter with a 4-6 foot squid during the dive’s mid-water transects. Image courtesy of NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program, Océano Profundo 2015: Exploring Puerto Rico’s Seamounts, Trenches, and Troughs

Sea robin

Seeing two deep-sea animals interacting with each other is rare. What is particularly rare is when they behave the opposite of how we expect them to. As we approached this armored sea robin, a brittle star climbed on top of the fish. We were pretty sure that the fish would try to eat the brittle star, but as it turns out, it just wanted to dislodge the extra baggage. The brittle star then proceeded to climb on top of the sea robin two more times. Image courtesy of NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program, Océano Profundo 2015: Exploring Puerto Rico’s Seamounts, Trenches, and Troughs.

red shrimp

Red is one of the first colors of light to disappear at depth, so several animals in the deep sea use this color to “disappear.” When we document organisms with the ROVs, we are able to see these animals in a way that wouldn’t be possible without our artificial lights. In the dark of the deep sea, this shrimp would appear black. Image courtesy of NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program, Océano Profundo 2015: Exploring Puerto Rico’s Seamounts, Trenches, and Troughs.

Grenadier

A close up of a grenadier investigating ROV Deep Discoverer. Image courtesy of NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program, Océano Profundo 2015: Exploring Puerto Rico’s Seamounts, Trenches, and Troughs

Brittle star

Brittle stars and squat lobsters are some of the most common associates that we see in corals. This brittle star has taken up residence on a beautiful purple coral that our science team hasn’t been able to identify yet. Image courtesy of NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program, Océano Profundo 2015: Exploring Puerto Rico’s Seamounts, Trenches, and Troughs.

hydromedusa

Hydromedusa from the Genus Crossota: This beautiful hydromedusa was seen at about 3,900 meters during Dive 4. Clearly imaged are two sets of tentacles: an inner ring of short tentacles and a longer set of tentacles originating from the bottom edge of the bell. Red canals running from the edge of the bell to the top of the bell and uniquely shaped gonads suggest placing this medusa in the genus Crossota. Image courtesy of NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program.

coronate jellyfish

Coronate from the Genus Atolla: This animal was seen at the 800-meter transect on Dive 11. This coronate jellyfish had a single ‘hypertrophied’ tentacle extending behind the open bell. Image courtesy of NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program.

Siphon

Physonect Siphonophore: This long creature is a strange gelatinous animal and related to the bell-shaped medusa we have seen on this expedition. The bright spot on the tip is a buoyant pneumatophore. Each of the clear segments below that are actually individual animals highly modified only to pulse in support of motion. In this animal, each individual has a modified body that supports single function while being connected to a common stem. We saw several siphonophores of various lengths on this expedition. Siphonophores typical prey on small crustacean plankton and small fish. Image courtesy of NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program.

Sea Cucumber

Sea cucumbers are always one of my favorite animals to see on a dive, if only because I’m always interested to see what they will look like this time! Internally, they are pretty much all the same, but their exteriors can be completely see through or a variety of colors, flattened, or spikey, like this one. I am not exactly sure what determines their shape, but there has to be some benefit for each morphology. Image courtesy of NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program, Océano Profundo 2015: Exploring Puerto Rico’s Seamounts, Trenches, and Troughs.

Slime star

Most people are familiar with sea stars, but there is incredible diversity of sea stars in the deep sea and several don’t look anything like their shallow-water relatives. This is a slime star, and if you look really closely through the mucus layer, you can see a shape that may look a little more familiar. Slime stars are found all over the world and have the ability to produce mucus as a defense mechanism. Image courtesy of NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program, Océano Profundo 2015: Exploring Puerto Rico’s Seamounts, Trenches, and Troughs.

hermit crab

This hermit crab may seem similar to something you have seen on land or in shallow water, but this one uses an anemone instead of a shell! Image courtesy of NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program, Océano Profundo 2015: Exploring Puerto Rico’s Seamounts, Trenches, and Troughs.

Sea toad

As ROV Deep Discoverer approached, this sea toad (Chaunax sp.) “walked” away. Image courtesy of NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program, Océano Profundo 2015: Exploring Puerto Rico’s Seamounts, Trenches, and Troughs.

Scorpionfish

Although we observed this scorpionfish during the Platform dive, it appears to be observing us. Image courtesy of NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program, Océano Profundo 2015: Exploring Puerto Rico’s Seamounts, Trenches, and Troughs.

trachymedusae

We spotted this trachymedusae just above the seafloor along the west wall of Mona Canyon. While you may see shallow-water jellyfish all the time, it is often very difficult to collect information about deep-sea jellyfish as they break up in nets and are hard to keep intact if collected. This is one of the reasons why our videographers always try to get good, detailed shots of gelatinous animals. Image courtesy of NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program, Océano Profundo 2015: Exploring Puerto Rico’s Seamounts, Trenches, and Troughs.

Dumbo octopus

Identified as the highlight of the cruise by many of our scientists and viewers alike, this dumbo octopus displayed a body posture that has never before been observed in cirrate octopods. Image courtesy of NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program, Gulf of Mexico 2014 Expedition.

Crinoid

A crinoid – potentially a new species in the Family Thalassometridae – clings to a black coral. Image courtesy of NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program, Gulf of Mexico 2014 Expedition.

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Published on: June 11, 2015

Filled Under: News, Science

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