Wednesday 26 October 2011

Flapjack Devilfish

Flapjack Devilfish are 20 or so species of deep sea octopus in the genus Opisthoteuthis. They are closely related to our very own Dumbo Octopus and boy does it show!

They have the big, slightly bovine eyes, the adorable ear-like fins on their mantle and the webbing connecting all their stubby little tentacles together.

Devilfish really doesn't seem like an appropriate name for such podgy, doe-eyed creatures. It's actually an olden day name for all octopus, which still doesn't sound right. Octopus are lovely!

The Flapjack part makes more sense, unless you're in Britain where a flapjack is a delicious and filling oat cake (I mostly like the chocolate one). In North America though, flapjacks are a kind of pancake. It refers to just how incredibly flattened Flapjack Devilfish are. It's quite extraordinary!

When they relax on the sea floor with their tentacles splayed out, they really do look like some kind of pancake. Or maybe a puddle of pure flab... lovely! They have that squidgy flesh that is so useful for surviving the high pressures of the deep sea, but they're so flat they end up looking like that Blobfish without even getting taken up to the surface.

On the other hand, when they swim about with ear fins flapping and webbing billowing... well, my heart just melts!

It's thought that this swimming may be important for the Flapjack to slowly pounce on tiny prey on the ocean floor. Once there, commenters on YouTube have said it looks like a hippopotamus' head floating about in the mud. It's great to discover that something like that isn't quite as horrific as it sounds!

Pearl from Finding Nemo


Anonymous said...

LOVE this creature. Amazing.

Joseph JG said...

I'm not surprised; they're just SO loveable!

Crunchy said...

It looks like a mushroom cap!

Joseph JG said...

You're right! A soft mushroom with eyes. Kind of like those guys in Mario after they've retired for a few years.