A rare deep-sea cirrate octopod (Grimpoteuthis sp.) uses its fins on either side of its head to gracefully propel itself through the water column around D2. The scientists observed some damage on the arm and fin.

A rare deep-sea cirrate octopod (Grimpoteuthis sp.) uses its fins on either side of its head to gracefully propel itself through the water column around Deep Discoverer. The scientists observed some damage on the octopod's arm and fin. Image courtesy of the NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research, Discovering the Deep: Exploring Remote Pacific MPAs. Download larger version (jpg, 1.3 MB).

Another first for the expedition and a rare find, the whalefish, less than 10 centimeteres in length, appeared at a depth of ~1,310 meters. Whalefish were named for their large mouths and resemblance to baleen whales, not for their size.

Another first for the expedition and a rare find, the whalefish, less than 10 centimeteres in length, appeared at a depth of ~1,310 meters. Whalefish were named for their large mouths and resemblance to baleen whales, not for their size. Image courtesy of the NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research, Discovering the Deep: Exploring Remote Pacific MPAs. Download larger version (jpg, 836 KB).

Dive 14: Unnamed Seamount (Winslow Reef Area)
March 22, 2017
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Dive 14: Octopus

This dumbo octopus was observed resting on the seafloor before it took off, gliding through the water as if flying, propelled by the fins behind its eyes. Video courtesy of the NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research, Discovering the Deep: Exploring Remote Pacific MPAs. Download (mp4, 31.0 MB)

This dive started on a sedimented seafloor at 1,535 meters depth and progressed up a steep slope on an unnamed seamount within the Winslow Reef Area, Phoenix Islands Protected Area (PIPA). Throughout the dive, we observed several live and dead Walteria-like glass sponges, loaded with associates, including ophiuroids, crinoids, barnacles, shrimp, ctenophores, and sea stars. Sponges, including some encrusting types, were seen on the dive. Iridogorgia cf. magnispiralis was the dominant octocoral present and several colonies were very large, being about 3.7 meters. Other corals observed included an unknown planar Chrysogorgiid octocoral, three species of sea pens, whip and a yellow nodal branching bamboo corals, pink coralliid (Hemicorallium sp.), black coral, and stony corals including unknown cup corals. Additional associates included squat lobsters and barnacles on dead coral skeleton. Fish included cusk eels, rattails, codling, deep-sea spiny eels, a cutthroat eel, and an unknown black fish, later identified as a whalefish. Other invertebrates observed included a blind lobster, stalked crinoids, sea cucumbers, sea stars, sea urchins, homolid crab with anemone associate, and xenophyophores. One of the highlights of the dive was observing a dumbo octopus with a damaged arm and fin taking flight during the first part of the dive. The scientists also observed some examples of carnivory, including a sea spider feeding on an anemone, sea stars feeding on sponges, and gastropods parasitizing a crinoid and grazing on corals. At the conclusion of the dive, the Okeanos Explorer headed south and will be diving at an unnamed seamount in PIPA to the northwest of McKean Island tomorrow.