The remote-controlled vehicle that shot the video was operated by the Ocean Exploration Trust, a nonprofit currently exploring the ocean floor.
The sighting of the so-called dumbo octopus, also known as an umbrella octopus, is highly unusual because most of them live at depths of below 9,800 feet.
Dumbo octopuses (or Grimpoteuthis) are named after the famous Disney character’s oversized ears.
As the one in the video above gracefully flaps its fins as it moves slowly through the water, it is easy to see why they are so named.
The team controlling the Hercules remotely operated vehicle on board the research ship Nautilus can be heard exclaiming their delight as they spot the octopus.
“Oh, and the world loves a dumbo,” one team member said on Oct. 23 when the video was shot, with others saying how cute the creature was.
The team used special lasers to measure how large the octopus was, estimating that it came in at just under 2 feet long, larger than most of the species.
The Ocean Exploration Trust said in a statement, “At first the ghostly octopod drifted past the camera on ROV Hercules flapping its pair of wing-like fins, then it inverted its web, spreading it like an umbrella to reveal the eight arms each with a single series of suckers and two series of finger-like muscular structures called cirri (hence the name cirrate octopod).”
An ‘Oasis in the Deep’
The octopus was spotted in the depths of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary off the coast of California during the first dive of the E/V Nautilus.
E/V Nautilus said, “This first dive explored a completely unexplored rocky outcropping to the southeast of the seamount, a region known as an oasis in the deep with vast coral and sponge fields.”
The team has been exploring the area for the last two weeks. A few days after they captured the footage of the dumbo octopus they discovered a nesting ground for over 1,000 octopuses in the rocks.
The team on board the ship was made up of scientists, ROV pilots, a navigator, a data logger, a video engineer, and a science communicator, according to the Ocean Exploration Trust.
Lead scientist Chad King told Fox News that the team was “elated” when they spotted the octopus.
“Even though I’m a scientist, we’re all kids out here,” he said, adding that although the species isn’t rare, it’s unusual to be able to see one swim live.
“The fact that we encountered one is what is special,” he said.
Dumbo octopuses live for 3 to 5 years and can exist down at 23,000 feet below sea level, the deepest of any known octopus.
The largest ever discovered was 5.9 feet in length and weighed 13 pounds.