Halloween seems to have come early deep below the waves as researchers have discovered a rare ‘ghostly’ octopus.
A team of ocean explorers spotted the rare ‘Dumbo’ Octopus 5,518ft (1,682 metres) beneath the surface, off the coast of Hawaii.
The crew of the Hercules remote operated vehicle can be heard exclaiming as the stunning creature drifts into view.
‘Oh wow!’ said one researcher, while another joked that the octopus had ‘flappy, flappy ears’.
The Dumbo Octopus gets its name from a striking resemblance to the 1941 cartoon character, Dumbo the elephant, with its two large ear-like fins protruding above its eyes.
Halloween seems to have come early deep below the waves as researchers have discovered a rare ‘ghostly’ octopus
In the video captured by the Ocean Exploration Trust, the octopus can be seen flapping its ‘ears’ to propel itself through the water.
As the footage shows, Dumbo Octopuses are also neutrally buoyant, allowing them to drift serenely through the pitch black of the deep seas.
While this creature might seem bizarre to some, many commenters on social media found the gentle animal to be more cute than creepy.
‘Incredible!’, wrote one excited commenter, adding that they wanted ‘a big plushie of this adorable fella!’
‘I could watch this octopus all day, what a beautiful being’ another said, while one viewer added that the octopus was ‘shaped like a friend’.
Measuring around 2ft long, the specimen on film is quite large for a species often no more than 8 to 12 inches in length.
However, this is only a small fry compared to the largest Dumbo Octopus ever found, which came in at 5ft 10in long and weighing almost 6kg.
The deepest diving of all octopuses, living at depths between 1,000 and 7,000m, the Dumbo Octopus is rare and uniquely adapted to the extreme conditions of life at the bottom of the ocean.
Using their strong fins and steering with their eight webbed limbs, these fascinating creatures can survive eating whatever snails and worms they find on the ocean floor.
With internal cartilage supporting their limbs, they are also well adapted to the immense pressures found at these depths.
At 1,500m beneath the waves the pressure is almost 150x greater than on land, meaning most sea animals simply cannot survive.
The crew of the Hercules remote operated vehicle can be heard exclaiming as the stunning creature drifts into view
In the video captured by the Ocean Exploration Trust, the octopus can be seen flapping its ‘ears’ to propel itself through the water
The deepest recorded sighting of a Dumbo Octopus was at over 23,000ft (7km) in the Java trench – that’s over 20 times the height of the Shard in London.
With animal life scattered far across the vast oceans, Dumbo Octopuses also need to be prepared to go long periods of time without seeing other octopuses, which makes finding a potential mate quite the challenge.
To get around these difficulties, female Dumbos constantly have eggs at different stages of development like cars going through a production line so they can be ready to mate and lay eggs whenever the opportunity arises.
Scientists also believe that male Dumbo Octopuses store sperm in a special projection in one of their arms which they can hand over to a female to be stored until it’s a good time to lay eggs.
‘Dumbo Octopus’ actually refers to a family of 17 different types of octopus, yet there may be more species of Dumbo Octopus still to be discovered.
Only last year a team of German scientists used MRI scans and DNA testing to identify a new species of Dumbo Octopus never before described by science.
At such extreme depths previously undiscovered species are common, so there are plenty more bizarre and spooky discoveries yet to be made.