Scientists Just Identified a New Species of Dumbo Octopus, No Dissection Required

Confirming a new species of octopus normally will involve lab tests and dissections. Not so with the Grimpoteuthis imperator dumbo octopus that has just been identified, with non-invasive scanning performing pretty much all of the perform.


Uncovered in the northern portion of the Emperor Seamounts, an underwater mountain ridge in the northwest Pacific Ocean, scientists identified G. imperator through a blend of high-industry magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and micro-computed tomography (micro-CT) scans, moreover minimally invasive gene evaluation carried out on tissue samples.

Standardized measurements and digital pics have been also analyzed to affirm that G. imperator does without a doubt stand alone as a species. The scientists who created the discovery have recommended frequent names for it this kind of as Emperor dumbo, Dumbo impérial (French), and Kaiserdumbo (German).

octopus newA correct-side view of the octopus with 3D design overlay of its organs. (Christina Sagorny et al, BMC Biology, 2021)

“In zoology, species descriptions conventionally rely on invasive morphological strategies, frequently major to damage of the specimens and as a result only a partial comprehension of their structural complexity,” publish the researchers in their printed paper.

“Right here, we present a combination of entirely non-invasive as perfectly as minimally invasive methods that allow taxonomic descriptions of big zoological specimens in a more comprehensive manner.”

Taking into consideration how scarce these finned, or dumbo, octopods are, the less dissection that normally takes position the better. While there aren’t several of them, they nevertheless play a main purpose in deep-sea habitats going down to all over 7,000 meters (22,966 feet) underwater.

Specifics which include the form of the shell, gills, and digestive tract, moreover variations in the nervous program and sensory organs, served to mark out this dumbo octopus as getting a independent form. Some of the information the researchers have been equipped to glean, these kinds of as the variety of the systemic coronary heart, have not been described in octopus species in advance of.

Grimpoteuthis Imperator, a newly described dumbo octopus, seen from the side.(Alexander Ziegler)

The shell variety, fin posture, and arm length of this octopus detect it as from the genus Grimpoteuthis. They’re typically specified the name dumbo due to the fact of their similarity to the typical Disney elephant character of the exact title, many thanks to two huge head fins that you can see in the photo earlier mentioned.

The form of non-invasive scanning technological know-how deployed in this article is turning out to be extra well known for pinpointing new groups in the animal kingdom, but up until now, it truly is largely been made use of for lesser creatures. This examine reveals that it can operate on bigger specimens, far too.

Remaining ready to return marine lifestyle like G. imperator again to its first habitat would make a big distinction in initiatives to go away these kinds of fragile ecosystems as untouched as possible – and there are very likely to be loads additional discoveries to come.

Grimpoteuthis Imperator, a newly described dumbo octopus, seen from underneath, with its tentacles spread out(Alexander Ziegler)

“The MRI and micro-CT datasets we have acquired below and which are publicly available from the repository MorphoBank could be used for additional analyses that would not have been attainable to this extent making use of common, invasive procedures,” suggests zoologist Alexander Ziegler, from the University of Bonn in Germany.

“This could permit other researchers to attract conclusions about the life style and behavior of hard-to-notice deep-sea organisms.”

The investigation has been posted in BMC Biology.