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Wild & Weird: An Adorable Deep-sea Dumbo — Watch Video

During a dive in the Gulf of Mexico last month, team members from NOAA’s research vessel Okeanos Explorer captured rare footage of an adorable little deep-sea octopus named after a pachyderm. The Dumbo (Grimpoteuthis) octopus shares its moniker with the Disney elephant, not for its size -- the length of the sea creature rarely exceeds a foot -- but because it uses two prominent, ear-like fins to swim about in underwater flight. The new footage shows the species coiling its tentacles into tight spirals, a behavior that scientists had never observed before.

Deep-sea creatures are often stereotyped as the world’s more frightening species. One look at the Dumbo octopus’s surprisingly sweet face, however, shows there are charmers in the dark depths, too.

Check out this amazing footage of the Dumbo octopus; then read more about NOAA’s expedition at The Huffington Post.

This video originally appeared on YouTube.

Photo © Paul S. Hamilton