These are usually solitary animals that live in rather cold waters. An expedition has discovered a huge group of octopi of a new species in a place where they were not expected at three thousand meters of depth.
Scientists do not get tired of repeating it: we know more about the surface of the Moon than on the seabed. That is why they are not surprised when they discover new species in the strangest seascapes where total darkness reigns many times.
An expedition on the high seas that has used drones has discovered a giant group of about 100 female octopuses with their eggs in a rather inhospitable place for them. ” When I saw the pictures for the first time, I thought” No, they should not be there! Not so deep and so many copies, “says Janet Voight, a scientist at the Field Museum and author of a new study published in Deep Sea Research Part I.
The octopuses belong to a new species hitherto unknown from the genus Muusoctopus. They are pink animals the size of a plate and huge eyes. The researchers found a hundred females in the same area, something unusual since they are solitary animals. (Also read: Secrets about the octopus before the next one is eaten)
All the specimens, found more than 3,000 meters deep and 160 km from Costa Rica in the Pacific Ocean, were occupying the rocks of a small area in an environment near hydrothermal vents that the scientists themselves considered suicide when exposed to temperatures higher than usual.
The experts found that octopus females, which only produce one egg nest in their entire lives, suffered severe stress and the 186 eggs attached to the rocks did not have any sign of developing embryos. But researchers suspect that there is a better and healthier habitat nearby, possibly inside the cracks of the rocks, where the water is cold and rich in oxygen. That’s where they should actually be laying and incubating their eggs.
The hypothesis raised in the study is that the population of this newly discovered species has had to increase so much that some individuals have had to move to more dangerous areas and exposed to warmer waters. Exposure to higher temperatures activates your metabolism, so you need more oxygen than hot water can provide.
“It is likely that there are hollow areas in the area where other females raise their eggs until hatching,” explains Voight. Proof of them is that scientists observed octopus arms that emerged from time to time from cracks in the rock and that could correspond to the unseen population.
A fortuitous find
The research team discovered this huge group of octopuses by chance. “The expeditions were aimed at studying a cold hydrothermal system. In doing so, we discovered this fascinating octopus congregation, “says Geoff Wheat, a geochemist at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.
Twice a year scientists used underwater vehicles to explore this area called Dorado Outcrop, a rocky area of the seabed created by cooled and hardened lava from an underwater volcano. When the geochemists were studying one of the outcrops, instead of collecting samples of hot fluids that emerge from the cracks, they found this large amount of octopus.
The experts shared the video with the biologists and from their collaboration came this study. “There are millions of similar environments in the world in the deep sea. What other discoveries await us? “They conclude.
Source: El Espectador