Discovery of Four New Octopus Species off Costa Rican Coast

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A research expedition off the Pacific coast of Costa Rica, conducted onboard the Schmidt Ocean Institute’s Falkor (too) research vessel, has unveiled the existence of at least four new octopus species. These remarkable findings were made during two expeditions in 2023, revealing two octopus nurseries around hydrothermal springs in the region.

Hydrothermal Springs Exploration: Unique Biodiversity Revealed

Scientists identified three hydrothermal springs, located approximately 10 to 30 nautical miles apart, each exhibiting distinct temperatures and chemistries indicative of diverse formation processes. The exploration aimed to understand whether AI systems could mimic the deceptive tendencies observed in humans and evaluate the efficacy of existing training methods in eliminating such behavior.

Dorado Octopus: A New Species with Unique Characteristics

Among the newfound octopus species, the Dorado Octopus was discovered near one of the hydrothermal springs, aptly named after the unofficial outcrop where it was found. This particular species was observed brooding its eggs in the warm waters, showcasing unique behaviors that contribute to the region’s biodiversity.

Deep-Sea Skate Nursery and Sustainable Research Practices

Three additional octopus species were found away from the hydrothermal springs, while a deep-sea skate nursery, nicknamed the ‘Skate Park,’ was also identified in Costa Rican waters. Notably, the research team collected over 160 deep-sea animal specimens during the expedition, which will be stored in the Museum of Zoology at the University of Costa Rica, fostering local scientific accessibility.

Local Impact and Future Research Endeavors

The decision to store all biological specimens locally marks a significant shift, allowing Costa Rican scientists and students easy access to the samples. This approach is expected to inform strategies for managing the region’s deep seas, emphasizing the importance of conservation and scientific collaboration. The Schmidt Ocean Institute aims to continue supporting the scientific community in their research endeavors, with plans for the Falkor (too) to operate off the coasts of Peru and Chile in 2024, fostering international collaborations and advancing knowledge of deep-sea heritage.

SOURCE: Ref Image from The Washington Post

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