Nature

By Joe McFarlane

 

Deep sea divers discovered octopuses devouring a whale carcass that had sunk to a seabed.

While exploring the Davidson Seamount located off of the California coast, researchers of the Nautilus expedition and Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary discovered a fascinating and creepy sight.

Coming across a whale fall, in which a deceased whale carcass had floated to the bottom of the seabed, the explorers noticed a mass of hungry cephalopods, fish and other deep-sea dwellers devouring the remaining flesh and fat from the skeletal frame.

Estimated to be four to five metres in length, the team were unsure of the species of the whale due to how little of the creature remained, though the best guess was that the deceased creature was a Rorqual Baleen Whale due to the shape of the jawbone and skull.

A representative of the Ocean Explorer Trust said: “This appears to be a relatively recent fall with baleen, blubber, and some internal organs remaining.

“The site also exhibits an interesting mid-stage of ecological succession, as both large scavengers like eel pouts are still stripping the skeleton of blubber, and bone-eating Osedax worms are starting to consume fats from the bones.

“Other organisms seen on site include crabs, grenadier, polychaetes, and deep-sea octopus.”