Octopus nursery discovered in Costa Rica

Octopus nursery discovered in Costa Rica

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International scientists have identified a new deep-sea octopus nursery off the coast of Costa Rica. This revelation, combined with the confirmation of a previously known nursery's activity, brings the total number of known octopus nurseries worldwide to three.

Researchers found Muusoctopus nursery grounds on a low-temperature hydrothermal vent off the shore of Costa Rica. The octopuses hang on to the rocks in inverted positions in order to protect their eggs.

The team, aboard the Schmidt Ocean Institute's research vessel Falkor, located the nursery nearly 2,800 meters below the ocean's surface. The expedition's footage, captured by the underwater robot ROV SuBastian, showcased breathtaking marine life, including octopus hatchlings, tripod fish, and vibrant coral gardens.

The site, situated near low-temperature hydrothermal vents, was teeming with mother octopuses brooding their eggs and newly hatched young. Intriguingly, the octopuses observed might represent a new species within the Muusoctopus genus, which notably lacks an ink sac.

Historically, the Dorado Outcrop was the first site where scientists observed female octopuses congregating to brood their eggs. However, the absence of developing embryos during its initial discovery in 2013 led to speculations about the site's suitability for octopus growth. This recent expedition has dispelled those doubts, with scientists witnessing the miraculous moment of octopuses hatching.

Beyond the nurseries, the expedition explored five previously unknown seamounts in Costa Rican waters, revealing a rich biodiversity. Many of the creatures discovered are suspected to be new species.

Jorge Cortes, a marine biologist from the University of Costa Rica, emphasized the significance of these findings for Costa Rica, stating that the data will be instrumental in "raising awareness of what we have and why we should protect it."

Schmidt Ocean Institute