Deep sea

An alien-like new cephalopod was found deep in the ocean — look

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Cephalopods, like octopuses and squid, are a fascinating, diverse class of animals.

They also can be difficult to study because they often live in the deep ocean.

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The methods scientists use to study them also often involve dissecting specimens, making it even harder to examine and identify rare species.

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Now, a study by German researchers shows the potential for minimally invasive examination methods by using them to catalog a new species of dumbo octopus.

These finned octopuses live in the deep sea, making viable specimens hard to come by and important to preserve.

A. Ziegler, et al. BMC BIOLOGY (2021)

National Geophysical Data Center

The result of the study was the description of a new species, named Grimpoteuthis imperator after the Emperor Seamounts region in which it was found.

Here’s our new cephalopod.

A. Ziegler, et al. BMC BIOLOGY (2021)

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For their study, published in BMC Biology, the researchers used a combination of MRI, micro-CT scans, and gene analysis.

NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research

Along with common descriptors like its digestive tract and gill shape, researchers were able to include the Grimpoteuthis imperator’s systemic heart shape in its description.

This is what it looks like.

A. Ziegler, et al. BMC BIOLOGY (2021)

A. Ziegler, et al. BMC BIOLOGY (2021)

Using micro-CT scans, they also created the first interactive 3D model of a cephalopod beak.

A. Ziegler, et al. BMC BIOLOGY (2021)

The data gathered by the researchers remain available in the MorphoBank repository for other scientists to use.

“This may allow other researchers to draw conclusions about the lifestyle and behavior of hard-to-observe deep-sea organisms.”

Study author Alexander Ziegler at Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn

A. Ziegler, et al. BMC BIOLOGY (2021)

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