A ‘Big Eared’ Deep Sea Octopus Inflates Its Body Like a Circus Tent to Warn the ROV Hercules to Back Off

While exploring off Southwest Baker Island in the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument, the ROV Hercules, launched from the E/V Nautilus (previously) captured the very rare sight of a “big eared” (mantle fins) Cirroteuthidae Octopus. This incredibly large cephalopod repeatedly inflated its body like a circus tent in order to make itself larger in order to warn the invading vehicle to back off.

Dancing at a depth of around 1,600 meters (5,250 feet), this elegant octopus measures an estimated 20 centimeters (8 inches) across and entertained our watch team for more than five minutes. “It’s really putting on a show for us,” said a researcher as the cephalopod made its way toward Hercules’ camera, expanding its billowing arms like a circus tent blowing in the wind.