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10 Weird Creatures From the Mariana Trench


10
Dumbo Octopus
The dumbo octopus may look cute, but it swallows its prey whole. © 2015 HowStuffWorks, a division of Infospace LLC
The dumbo octopus may look cute, but it swallows its prey whole. © 2015 HowStuffWorks, a division of Infospace LLC

It's an octopus that Walt Disney would've invented for one of his animated films. It's the dumbo octopus, which has cute little Dumbo-the-Elephant-like ears atop its 12-inch (30-centimeter) body. This adorable animal also has precious wiggly eyes and a delightful puckered mouth that only add to its cartoonish looks.

This octopus may look dainty, but it's actually durable enough to make it the deepest dwelling octopus known to science. It prefers to make its home all the way down between 9,800 and 13,000 feet (2,987 and 3,962 meters).

When you think of octopuses, you probably envision a bulbous mantle sprouting eight dangly tentacles. The dumbo, however, falls into a category of so-called umbrella octopuses with webbed tentacles that give them, well, an umbrella appearance. The effect is something like a starfish with a balloon head emerging from the center.

Unlike most octopuses, this species doesn't chomp and grind food with a beaklike mouth. Instead, it simply swallows its prey whole. So if you happen to be on the dumbo octopus's menu, it probably doesn't seem nearly as cute.


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