The world’s deepest-ever sighting of an octopus has been captured on camera at a depth of 7,000m in the Java Trench on the Indian Ocean floor.

The sighting (6,957m deep to be precise) was made by marine biology researchers Dr Alan Jamieson and Michael Vecchione and it beats the previous deepest sighting of an octopus by nearly 2 kilometers.

The creature is believed to be a Dumbo octopus, named for its ear-like fins – which makes it look reminiscent of the 1940s Disney cartoon character. Size-wise, it is roughly 40cm in length.

Despite the incredible depth at which is was discovered, the octopus did not appear lonely – also captured on camera was a fish and a shrimp-like creature.

How were deep sea octopus images captured?

Dr Jamieson, the CEO of Armatus Oceanic, a deep-sea consultancy, has pioneered deep sea exploration using “landers”. These are steel frames, rigged up with cameras which are dropped off into the sea from research boats and then settle on the ocean floor.

The previous deepest sighting of an octopus occurred more than 50 years ago off the coast of Barbados.

Taking into account the known depths of all our planet’s oceans, this latest discovery effectively means that octopuses can survive in at least 99% of the global seafloor.

Those octopuses which live at remarkable depths will of course need very special adaptations in order to survive the massive pressure.

“They’d have to do something clever inside their cells. If you imagine a cell is like a balloon – it’s going to want to collapse under pressure. So, it will need some smart biochemistry to make sure it retains that sphere,” Dr Jamieson said.

“All the adaptations you need to live at pressure are at the cellular level.”

Image credit: EYOSExpeditions

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