Researchers found a rare octopus nursery off the coast of Costa Rica

An international research team has discovered the world’s third known octopus nursery off the coast of Costa Rica, which may also host a new species of Muusoctopus.

Discovery details: The octopus nursery was found nearly two miles underwater in an area known as the Dorado Outcrop.
* Scientists witnessed Muusoctopus eggs hatching at the site, indicating that this area is conducive to young octopuses.
* The Dorado Outcrop, roughly the size of a football field, was initially discovered in 2013 but, at the time, scientists did not find any developing embryos and thought octopuses couldn’t grow there.

Species specifics: The researchers believe they may have discovered a new species of Muusoctopus, a smaller octopus genus that lacks an ink sack.
* Observations also suggest some deep-sea octopus species prefer to brood their eggs in low-temperature hydrothermal vents, such as those found at the Dorado Outcrop.

Conservation concerns: Although the Dorado Outcrop is a significant discovery, these areas are still vulnerable to human activities like fishing.
* Some scientists on the research team are trying to determine whether these underwater seamounts should receive legal protection.
* “The information, samples, and images are important to Costa Rica to show its richness and will be used for scientific studies, and outreach to raise awareness of what we have and why we should protect it,” said researcher Jorge Cortes.

Who said what: “The discovery of a new active octopus nursery over 2,800 meters beneath the sea surface in Costa Rican waters proves there is still so much to learn about our Ocean,” said Dr. Jyotika Virmani, Executive Director of the Schmidt Ocean Institute.

View original article on NPR

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