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Image A large 'dumbo' octopus

TLF ID M008776

This is a colour photograph of a 'dumbo' octopus ('Grimpoteuthis sp'). The dumbo octopus is large and dark reddish in colour, shading to a lighter colour on its tentacles. The octopus has a head area, which forms the main mass of its body, distinctive 'ears' and two white patches. Seven of the eight tentacles are shown; they are webbed and have suckers.

Educational details

Educational value
  • The 'dumbo' octopus belongs to the Molluscs, a group of animals that also includes squid, cuttlefish, the nautilus and other species of octopus. The dumbo octopus generally lives on the ocean floor and has been found living at extreme depths of up to 7,000 metres. It is different to other octopuses as it has tightly webbed tentacles and distinctive 'ears'.
  • The dumbo octopus is a voracious predator, but it is unusual in its feeding habits as it prefers to swallow its prey whole. When on the sea bed, the dumbo octopus feasts mainly on worms, bivalves and shrimps. When moving in the pelagic (open ocean) zone above the sea bed, it eats copepods, which are small crustaceans.
  • This octopus is particularly unusual in its appearance, as it has large floppy fins that look like ears and give it the name 'Dumbo' after the Walt Disney flying elephant character. The fins are flapped and the 'arms' pulse to help move the octopus along. It can also shoot water through its funnels to propel itself through the water if it needs to move more quickly.
Topics Octopuses
Learning area
  • Science

Other details

  • Contributor
  • Name: University of Waikato
  • Organization: University of Waikato
  • Description: content provider
  • Address: NEW ZEALAND
  • URL:
  • Publisher
  • Name: Education Services Australia Ltd
  • Organization: Education Services Australia Ltd
  • Description: Publisher
  • Address: VIC, AUSTRALIA
  • URL:
  • Resource metadata contributed by
  • Name: Education Services Australia Ltd
  • Organisation: Education Services Australia Ltd
  • Address: AUSTRALIA
  • URL:
Access profile
  • Generic
Learning Resource Type
  • Image
  • © Education Services Australia Ltd 2011 (except where otherwise indicated). You may copy, communicate and adapt this metadata for non-commercial educational purposes provided you retain all acknowledgements associated with the material.