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Dumbo-hires (cropped).jpg
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Mollusca
Class: Cephalopoda
Order: Octopoda
Family: Opisthoteuthidae
Genus: Grimpoteuthis
Robson, 1932
Type species
Grimpoteuthis umbellata
Fischer, 1884

17, see text

SynonymsO'Shea, 1999


Grimpoteuthis[1] is a genus of pelagic finned or cirrate octopods known as the dumbo octopuses.[2] The name "dumbo" originates from their resemblance to the title character of Disney's 1941 film Dumbo, having a prominent ear-like fin which extends from the mantle above each eye. There are 17 species recognized in the genus.[3][4] Prey include crustaceans, bivalves, worms and copepods.[2] The average life span of various Grimpoteuthis species is 3 to 5 years.[citation needed]

Species and taxonomy[edit]

Species name Reference Geographic range Depth range (meters) Taxonomic notes
Grimpoteuthis abyssicola O'Shea, 1999[5][6][7] Tasman Sea (off New Zealand and southeastern Australia) 2821–3180 Known from two specimens. [7]
Grimpoteuthis angularis Verhoeff & O'Shea, 2022[7] off New Zealand 628 Known from a single specimen. Internal shell form distinct from others in genus. [7]
Grimpoteuthis bathynectes Voss & Pearcy, 1990[8][9] North Pacific (Tufts and Cascadia Abyssal Plains off Oregon) 3932
Grimpoteuthis boylei Collins, 2003[10][11] Northeast Atlantic (Porcupine and Madeira Abyssal Plains) 4845–4847
Grimpoteuthis challengeri Collins, 2003[10][12] Northeast Atlantic (Porcupine Abyssal Plain) 4828–4838
Grimpoteuthis discoveryi Collins, 2003[10][13] Northeast Atlantic 2600–4870
Grimpoteuthis greeni Verhoeff & O'Shea, 2022[7] Southern Australia 480–1993 Known from three specimens.[7]
Grimpoteuthis hippocrepium Hoyle, 1905[14][15] East Pacific (off Malpelo Island) 3334 Previously assigned to genus Stauroteuthis; known from a single, "sadly mutilated" individual according to Hoyle.[14] The internal shell form is similar to G. abyssicola.[7]
Grimpoteuthis imperator Ziegler & Sagorny, 2021[16] Emperor Seamounts, North Pacific 3913–4417 Known from a single specimen.[16]
Grimpoteuthis innominata O'Shea, 1999[5][17] South Pacific (East of New Zealand) 2000 Alternatively classified as Enigmatiteuthis[5]
Grimpoteuthis meangensis Hoyle, 1885[18][19] West Pacific (off Meangis Islands, near Philippines) 925 Previously assigned to genera Cirroteuthis[18] and Stauroteuthis[14]
Grimpoteuthis megaptera Verrill, 1885[18][20] Northwest Atlantic (Southeast of Martha's Vineyard) 4600 Previously assigned to genus Cirroteuthis[18]
Grimpoteuthis pacifica Hoyle, 1885[18][21] South Pacific (off Papua New Guinea) 4500 Previously assigned to genus Cirroteuthis[18]
Grimpoteuthis plena Verrill, 1885[18][22] Northwest Atlantic 2000 Previously assigned to genus Cirroteuthis[18]
Grimpoteuthis tuftsi Voss & Pearcy, 1990[8][23] North Pacific (Tufts and Cascadia Abyssal Plains off Oregon) 3900
Grimpoteuthis umbellata P. Fischer, 1883[18][24] North Atlantic (off Morocco, Canary Islands, and the Azores) 2235 Previously assigned to genus Cirroteuthis[18]
Grimpoteuthis wuelkeri Grimpe, 1920[25][26] Northeast and Northwest Atlantic 2055

As noted above, many species collected on the Challenger expedition were initially classified in the genera Cirroteuthis and Stauroteuthis.[18][14] Several species formerly classified as Grimpoteuthis were moved to genera Cirroctopus and Opisthoteuthis. [10] A new family, Grimpoteuthididae (alternatively spelled Grimpoteuthidae), has been proposed to accommodate Grimpoteuthis and those of genera Enigmatiteuthis, Cryptoteuthis, and Luteuthis.[5][27][28] The persistent confusion and disparity about the taxonomy of these species has been attributed to the poor quality and limited number of specimens available for study.[27]

Range and habitat[edit]

Species of Grimpoteuthis are assumed to have a worldwide distribution, living in the cold, abyssal depths ranging from 1,000 to 7,000 metres. Specimens have been found off the coast of Oregon, the Philippines, Martha's Vineyard, the Azores, New Zealand, Australia, California, Gulf of Mexico, Papua, and New Guinea. Last observation was 21.06.2022 at 1250 meters by the vessel Normand Ocean that uses underwater drones to inspect platforms. This time they were to examine chains and risers at the Aasta Hansteen platform outside Trøndelag in Norway.

Dumbo octopuses are the deepest living octopuses known, with some specimens captured or observed in hadal depths. One Grimpoteuthis sp. specimen was captured 60 km southeast of Grand Cayman at 7,279 m, but this depth is uncertain (as the specimen may have been captured while the net was descending to depth).[29] However, in 2020, Grimpoteuthis was spotted 6,957 m deep in the Java Trench, confirming the hadal distribution of this genus.[30]


Species of Grimpoteuthis face few direct threats from humans, living at depths of 1,000 meters (3,300 ft) and below. Natural predators of cirrate octopuses include large teleost fish and sharks, and even marine mammals such as Sperm Whales and Seals, but these are mostly predators of other cirrate genera and Grimpoteuthis has only been recorded in the stomach contents of a shark.[28]

The Grimpoteuthis do not have an ink sac (as is the case with all cirrate octopuses). Furthermore, the cirrate octopuses lack innervated chromatophores and are therefore not capable of changing color [28] (despite some unreferenced statements to the contrary[31]). How cirrate octopuses escape or avoid predators is largely unknown.

Movement, characteristics, and food supply[edit]

Observations of animals in the Atlantic reveal that Grimpoteuthis often rest on the seafloor with the arms and web spread out and uses its arms to slowly crawl along the seafloor, when disturbed the webbing and arms are contracted to push the animal off the seafloor with it then transitioning to movement using the mantle fins for rapid locomotion.[32] Although it has been suggested that species of Grimpoteuthis are capable of jet-propulsion (while swimming using the fins), this has since been deemed unlikely.[32]

Feeding behavior has not been directly observed in Grimpoteuthis, but presumably is similar to Opisthoteuthis that trap small prey items in the webbing (either by enclosing the prey in the arm webbing or between the webbing and the seafloor) and then use the cirri (fingerlike projections along the arms) to move food to the mouth.[28] Known prey items (from dissected animals) include benthic polychaetes, benthopelagic copepods, amphipods and isopods.[28]


The cirrate octopuses are classified as 'continuous spawners', females carry multiple eggs in various stages of maturation and only lay one-or-two eggs at a time, with no seasonality in spawning (however most of these aspects of reproductive biology have only been confirmed in Opisthoteuthis, not Grimpoteuthis). Mating in cirrate octopuses has never been observed, and unlike other octopuses, members of Cirrata lack a hectocotylus for the transfer of sperm packets.[28] Cirrate octopus eggs are large and have a tough casing surrounding the chorion (not found in other octopuses), and Grimpoteuthis in particular attach their eggs to deep sea corals (octocorals).[33] The female cirrate octopus does not guard or incubate the eggs (again unlike other octopuses).[28] Grimpoteuthis hatchlings emerge as "fully competent" juveniles with all of the sensory and motor features to survive on their own.[34][33]

Sexual dimorphism between males and females are less noticeable and consistent in Grimpoteuthis compared to other cirrate octopuses (such as Opisthoteuthis). In some species (e.g., G. bathynectes[8] and G. discoveryi),[10] the males have enlarged suckers relative to the females, but no such enlargement is found in other Grimpoteuthis species.[28]


  1. ^ Proceedings of the California Academy of Sciences, 4th series. Vol. ser.4:v.47 (1990–1992). San Francisco: California Academy of Sciences. 1990–1992.
  2. ^ a b "Finned Deep-sea Octopuses". Marinebio. Retrieved 8 May 2014.
  3. ^ WoRMS Editorial Board (2022). "Grimpoteuthis Robson, 1932". World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS).
  4. ^ Young, Richard. "Grimpoteuthis". Retrieved 10 May 2014.
  5. ^ a b c d O'Shea, Steve (1999). "The marine fauna of New Zealand: Octopoda (Mollusca: Cepahlopoda)". Niwa Biodiversity Memoirs. Wellington: NIWA Research (112): 5–278.
  6. ^ O'Shea, Steve; Young, Richard E. (2003). "Grimpoteuthis abyssicola". Tree Of Life Web Project. Retrieved 2020-02-27.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g Verhoeff, Tristan J; O'Shea, Steve (2022). "New records and two new species of Grimpoteuthis (Octopoda: Cirrata: Grimpoteuthididae) from southern Australia and New Zealand". Molluscan Research. 42: 4–30. doi:10.1080/13235818.2022.2035889. S2CID 247020706.
  8. ^ a b c Voss, G. L.; Pearcy, W. C. (1990). "Deep-water octopods (Mollusca; Cephalopoda) of the northeastern Pacific". Proceedings of the California Academy of Sciences. 47 (3): 57–63.
  9. ^ Young, Richard E.; Vecchione, Michael (2003). "Grimpoteuthis bathynectes". Tree of Life Web Project. Retrieved 2020-02-27.
  10. ^ a b c d e Collins, M. A. (2003). "The genus Grimpoteuthis (Octopoda: Grimpoteuthidae) in the north-east Atlantic, with descriptions of three new species". Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society. 139: 93–127. doi:10.1046/j.1096-3642.2003.00074.x.
  11. ^ Collins, Martin A.; Vecchione, Michael; Young, Richard E. (2003). "Grimpoteuthis boylei". Tree of Life Web Project. Retrieved 2020-02-28.
  12. ^ Collins, Martin; Vecchione, Michael; Young, Richard E. (2003). "Grimpoteuthis challengeri". Tree of Life Web Project. Retrieved 2020-02-28.
  13. ^ Collins, Martin; Vecchione, Michael; Young, Richard E. (2003). "Grimpoteuthis discoveryi". Tree of Life Web Project. Retrieved 2020-02-28.
  14. ^ a b c d Hoyle, William E. (1904). "Reports on the Cephalopoda". Bulletin of the Museum of Comparative Zoology. 43 (1): 5–7.
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  17. ^ O'Shea, Steve; Young, Richard E.; Vecchione, Michael. (2003). "Grimpoteuthis innominata". Tree of Life Web Project. Rerieved 2020-02-28.
  18. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Hoyle, William Evans (1886). Report on the Cephalopoda collected by H. M. S. Challenger during the years 1873–76 / by William Evans Hoyle. Edinburgh?: Edinburgh: Neill. pp. 3, 230–33. doi:10.5962/bhl.title.46542.
  19. ^ Young, Richard E.; Vecchione, Michael. (2003). "Grimpoteuthis meangensis". Tree of Life Web Project. Rerieved 2020-02-28.
  20. ^ Vecchione, Michael; Young, Richard E. (2003). "Grimpoteuthis megaptera". Tree of Life Web Project. Rerieved 2020-02-28.
  21. ^ Young, Richard E; Vecchione, Michael. (2003). "Grimpoteuthis pacifica". Tree of Life Web Project. Rerieved 2020-02-28.
  22. ^ Vecchione, Michael; Young, Richard E. (2003). "Grimpoteuthis plena". Tree of Life Web Project. Rerieved 2020-02-28.
  23. ^ Young, Richard E.; Vecchione, Michael. (2003). "Grimpoteuthis tuftsi". Tree of Life Web Project. Rerieved 2020-02-28.
  24. ^ Collins, Martin; Vecchione, Michael; Young, Richard E. (2003). "Grimpoteuthis umbellata". Tree of Life Web Project. Retrieved 2020-02-28.
  25. ^ Grimpe, G. (1920). Teuthologische Mitteilungen V. Zwei neue Cirraten-Arten. Zoologischer Anzeiger 51: 230–243.
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  33. ^ a b Ziegler, Alexander; Miller, Abigail; Nagelmann, Nina (2021). "Novel insights into early life stages of finned octopods (Octopoda: Cirrata)". Swiss Journal of Palaeontology. 140. doi:10.1186/s13358-021-00240-0. S2CID 245330726.
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