Dumbo Octopus

Taxonomic Classification:

Domain: Eukarya

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Mollusca

Class: Cephalopoda

Order: Octopoda

Family: Opisthoteuthidae

Genus: Grimpoeuthis

Species: Grimpoteuthis bathynectes [84]

Figure 42: Parts of the Dumbo Octopus


Figure 43: Grimpoteuthis bathynectes

Why does the organism belong in this kingdom?

            Grimpoteuthis bathynectes is a multicellular eukaryotic organism. One of the reasons we know this is because the organism is complex. It is complex because it includes, fins, suckers, spine, and tentacles. [85] Therefore, the Grimpoteuthis bathynectes would only be found in the Domain Eukarya, because the other two Domains do not include prokaryotes or multicellular organisms. This organism is in this kingdom for several reasons. The first reason is because it reproduces sexually. The females have no breeding seasons and are able to lay eggs whenever under small rocks on the bottom of the ocean. Males are different in which they have a tentacle or arm deliver sperm to the female’s mantle. Females are able to fertilize this sperm at any time. [85] In the kingdom Animalia, organisms reproduce sexually or asexually. In the process of sexual reproduction which consists of meiosis, the egg becomes fertilized in fermentation, the egg develops into a zygote and eventually develops into an individual. [11] Any kingdom in the Domain is able to reproduce sexually or asexually, however this is the only kingdom where organisms are able to. In addition, this organism is considered a heterotroph. The method this organism uses for eating includes swallowing the organic matter whole, with not tearing it up. The Grimpoteuthis bathynectes eat different small multicellular organisms like bristle worms, and amphipods. The food the organism finds usually is nearby floating or on the ocean floor. [85] Heterotrophs are the only type of organisms found in the kingdom Animalia. The animal consumes organic matter to receive an energy source. The organism ingests the food and then digests it, breaking it down. [10] The only kingdom that does not include any heterotrophs is the kingdom Fungi. The Grimpoteuthis bathynectes is motile. It used the ear-like fins in a flapping motion to help move through water. Also when they contract and expand their tentacles, it can help them glide through. [85] In the kingdom Animalia, motility can be found. The only other kingdom that has motility is the kingdom Protista. However, their movement is only possible by the help of cilia, flagella, or pseudopodia. [4] Another characteristic the Grimpoteuthis bathynectes has, is the spine. The spine is one of the primary locations that the nervous spine goes through to help with motion and other things. The motility the Grimpoteuthis bathynectes uses would not be able to occur if the organism did not have a nervous system because the motility is complex. [85] In all four kingdoms, Animalia is the only kingdom where a nervous system is found, making the organism more complex than any other organism found in any other domain. Since the organism has a nervous system the organism is classified in the kingdom Animalia.

Why does this organism belong in this Phylum?

            This organism belongs to the Phylum Mollusca.  This Phylum includes all the organisms that are soft –bodied and that mostly have hard shells over it. This is the difference between this phylum and the others. No other phylum will include an animal that is soft-bodied with a hard shell. The other Phylum have their own characteristic that makes them different from the others. [86] The Grimpoteuthis bathynectes has a hard shell that covers the outside of it that is in the shape of a “U”. The organism includes the shell in its structure because the organism needs something to protect the soft-body that lays beneath it. Without this shell, it would become more difficult for the organism to live. [85] Since this organism has a soft body and hard shell to cover it, it is categorized in the phylum Mollusca with the other octopuses.

In the figure, you can see that the Dumbo Octopus in the phylum Mollusca. Mollusca is the phylum that has a green circle. Organisms in this phylum are closely related to Arthropoda, and Annelida. As you can see, if you go farther down their ancestry, you can see they all come from the same roots. The Mollusca eat the other two phyla that the phylum is closely related too.  This is because Annelida and Arthropoda have evolved from Mollusca. This phylum evolved from Nematoda, sharing similar characteristics but also not because Mollusca has evolved characteristics then this phylum.

General Description:

          The Grimpoteuthis bathynectes is also known as the Dumbo octopus. The octopus was given its name from the big ear-like fins on its head. Since there is a Disney character named Dumbo the elephant and has the big ears, the octopus so too was given this name. The organism can be found in the Pacific Ocean, worldwide but especially places near New Zealand, Australia, Monterey Bay, California, Oregon, Philippines and in Papua, New Guinea. The Dumbo octopus is found on the ocean floor, or can hover above at 3000 to 4000 m of the seafloor. The organism is able to adapt to intense pressure and cold temperatures that don’t usually present as the norm. The octopus is able to adapt because it grows mantle fins. Even when the environment changes though, the cycle for reproduction is able to continue normally and happen whenever, to produce more than the shallow water species. The body of the octopus is “U” or “V” shell which models its shape. Some of the Grimpoteuthis bathynectes are short but the average height being 20-30 cm and others resemble a sea jelly. The Dumbo octopus is yellow-tan with white color. This organism has a head with two ear-like fins on top, and right below a set of eyes. Below the eyes the mouth can be found. The mouth structure is very unique, with a degenerated radula-type opening. This is helps the organism with their interesting method of obtaining food. Under the abdomen is the eight webbed tentacles/arms. On these webbed arms are the suckers. Suckers that are found do look physically different  according to their sex. The Grimpoteuthis bathynectes belongs to a group called the umbrella octopuses. This is because they are able to float with their mantle looking like an umbrella. The Dumbo octopus has several different types of motility. This can include using the fins, the tentacles or by shooting water through their funnel causing them to move very fast away from predator. These movements are able to happen because of the help of the nervous system because of their complexity. When the different ways the Grimpoteuthis bathynectes can move can be used all together or only use one at a time. [85]

The video below gives a brief summary of the Dumbo Octopus. It tells you why it is s unique, and how it is different from the other octopi.  

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