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Adorable And Rare "Dumbo" Octopus Shows Off For The Camera

NOAA / Ocean Exploration Trust

The ocean has earned a pretty bad reputation over the years.

Yes, it's true that there are sharks lurking in the water, along with some truly creepy deep sea fish.

But the briny depths have their fair share of cute animals too, and the adorable octopus captured on camera last month is living proof.

Dumbo, is that you?

Dumbo octopus
The dumbo octopus' big "ears" are actually fins. NOAA OKEANOS EXPLORER Program, Gulf of Mexico 2014 Expedition - Flickr

Living deep, deep down near the ocean floor, the "dumbo" octopus earned its name because of the two unusual fins found on each side of its head.

Don't they look like Dumbo's big, floppy ears?

Aside from its cartoonish look, not much is known about these octopi. Which makes it so special when one "shows off" for the camera in footage like this.

This video was captured by the research ship Nautilus, which is funded in part by the nonprofit Ocean Exploration Trust.

The ship is equipped with special remote-controlled cameras, which are used to study and film deep sea creatures and their habitats.

While the camera was cruising off the coast of California last month, along the floor of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary more than 10,000 feet below the surface, the ghostly white octopus glided into view.

Dumbo Octopus
Dumbos, like other kinds of octopuses, can change their colors.Ocean Exploration Trust/NOAA

Lasers revealed the little sucker was less than two feet long, but some dumbos can grow up to six feet long.

It also showed off its underside, where its arms are connected by a "web" of skin and coated with short tentacles called cirri.

While this specimen was ghost white, all octopuses can change their color at will, and dumbos are no exception.

One thing dumbos can't do is shoot ink, which octopi use to fend off predators. The need to get away quickly without ink explains why dumbos have developed extra fins - to escape from hungry animals even faster.

Dumbo Octopus
Dumbos use their extra fins to make a quick escape from predators.Ocean Exploration Trust/NOAA

While dumbos are not rare in terms of sheer numbers, sightings are rare since their homes are so deep below the ocean. So Nautilus researchers couldn't contain their excitement when they spotted one.

"Oh my," said one, "it's so cute."

"You're gonna be famous!" another shouted.

The same research ship has stumbled onto dumbos before, including an adorable (but camera-shy) yellow octopus from 2015.

Along with the attention-grabbing octopus, the Nautius filmed all sorts of sea creatures in their expeditions last month.

Deep sea worms and an octopus nesting ground were also caught on camera.

You can learn more about the Nautilus' research, and see photos or videos from their expeditions, on their website.

What do you think of the dumbo octopus? Is it cute, or creepy?

I write about all sorts of things for Shared, especially weird facts, celebrity news, and viral stories.