Monterey: Scientists exploring the sea floor off the coast of central California for deep-water coral and sponges found an unprecedented sight: Hundreds of octopuses tucked between rocks with their tentacles inverted and covering groups of white eggs, a posture that is common among brooding females.
The cluster of over 1,000 gray octopuses latching on to clean, dark rock was found last week in the Davidson Seamount, an underwater extinct volcano in the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, Chad King, a marine biologist, said. A submersible’s camera found the creatures on Oct 23 3 kms below the surface during the first dive by the Nautilus, a vessel exploring the sanctuary and livestreaming its findings.
“It is the largest cluster of brooding deep-sea octopuses that has ever been spotted,” added King, also the chief scientist aboard the Nautilus, a vessel with a team from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the nonprofit Ocean Exploration Trust. It was the first time scientists have seen a cluster of Muusoctopus robustus octopuses off California’s coast.