Brooding Octopuses

In addition to octopuses, whelks, anemones and shrimp were seen around the outcropping.

Nature is awesome. And even more awesome than we knew three days ago. 

Earlier this week, a team of scientific researchers from Ocean Exploration Trust and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration set out on the E/V Nautilus to explore an area of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary that had been mapped from the surface, but never seen. 

What was known is that it was a rocky outcropping more than 3,000 meters deep southeast of the Davidson Seamount, a formation rich with marine life like corals and sponges. 

The explorers sent down a remote-operated vehicle, and as the Youtube video below can attest, they could barely contain their amazement at what they discovered Oct. 23 near the end of a more than 35-hour dive:

An aggregation of clusters of more than 1,000 octopuses—Muusoctopus robustus, deepwater octopuses lacking ink sacs—brooding on the rocks, their tentacles covering their bodies and egg clusters.

What makes it even more incredible is scientists observed "fluid seeps"—fluid rich in hydrocarbons seeping from the seafloor—which were not known to occur in the region. 

Only one other aggregation of this type has been reported before, where a smaller group of Muusoctopus robustus were seen brooding in hydrothermal water off Costa Rica. 

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