Wednesday 18 May 2011


Image: © MBARI
I love this name! "Benthoctopus"... wonderful! Benthoctopus is actually a genus of deep sea octopus with about 25 members known so far. The "benth" part comes from a Greek word meaning "depths of the sea". Where plankton are those that drift around in water, the benthos is the community right at the bottom of lakes and oceans. They aren't necessarily at great depths, it just so happens that Benthoctopus are. Specifically, they are found at depths of 200 to 3,000 metres, apparently all over the world.

They aren't quite as odd as their Dumbo friends and still look quite similar to other octopus at shallower depths. It is also said that they are more active and prone to jet away than Dumbos are but you can see that they aren't overly keen on colours or patterns. They range between pallid, greyish pinks to fleshy reds and macabre purples, from sickly to downright sinister. Love it!

At least one species of Benthoctopus is partial to brittlestars that can be found crawling on the sea floor. Others may or may not eat other things that crawl on the sea floor... that's benthos for you.

Benthic octopus (Benthoctopus sp.) and clam (A...Image via Wikipedia


Crunchy said...

Aww, benthoctopus, why do you have to be so rude to crabs? That crab only wanted to be your friend but now you've ruined it. This is why you're sad all the time! :(

Joseph JG said...

Hahaha! I really like that video. The octopus seems so graceful and carefully posed and then some massive crab lumbers in like some galumphing oaf. It's always interesting to see how animals interact with each when it's not simply running away from getting eaten, getting eaten or eating each other.