Deep-sea megafauna continue to surprise scientists with their mysterious behavioral patterns. Researchers recently discovered octagons on the seafloor of the Fram Strait, located between Greenland and Svalbard. These strange prints have generated a lot of interest among scientists, and now they have finally uncovered their origin.
The bathypelagic zone, which is between 1,000 and 4,000 meters deep, is one of the largest and least studied biomes on the planet. This zone is home to the largest animals, which are very difficult to study due to their size and features. Unfortunately, most deep-sea animals cannot be caught and transported for study, so we know very little about them.
However, through the use of Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs), scientists were able to reach the location of the octahedrons and find out their origin. It turned out that these prints were the feeding marks of Dumbo octopuses. The Cirrata group of octopuses, also known as “Dumbo octopuses,” live in the deep waters of all of Earth’s oceans. They feed mainly on worms and crustaceans.
Studies have also shown that Cirroteuthis muelleri octopuses, which are found in the Arctic, conduct a pelagic-benthic feeding migration. This means that they feed on the seafloor and then return to the water column. This feeding strategy is common for deep-sea gelatinous fishes and holothurians.
The octahedrons found on the seafloor of Fram Strait are traces of this octopus migration. When they feed on the bottom, they leave their fin imprints, which are octagon-shaped. This is an example of convergent evolution of deep-sea megafauna, which contributes to the vertical transfer of carbon in the water column.
The researchers also note that such large-scale vertical movements of megafauna should be taken into account when developing strategies to conserve and protect deep-sea environments. This will allow for a better understanding of the ecological linkages in this unique biome and help in its conservation.
Thus, the discovery of the origin of octahedrons on the seafloor of Fram Strait was an important step in understanding deep-sea animals and their behavior. This discovery allows scientists to better study and understand the bathypelagic zone and its inhabitants.