A new species of octopus has been found in a deep-sea nursery off the coast of Costa Rica.
Scientists say both the discovery of the new species of Muusoctopus, a genus of small to medium sized octopus without an ink sac, and the nursery are notable.
The rare brooding site – at 2,800m below sea level – is only the third known octopus nursery in the world.
The Dorado Outcrop nursery, in a cold hydrothermal vent off the coast of Puntarenas, was originally located in 2013 by scientists who found 100 female octopuses brooding their eggs.
At that time researchers said no developing embryos were found, which led them to conclude the environment wasn’t suitable for baby octopuses.
However, a team, led by Dr Beth Orcutt of the US-based Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences and Dr Jorge Cortes of the University of Costa Rica, went back to the site earlier this year and made much more positive findings.
The team was onboard a Schmidt Ocean Institute vessel in the Pacific Ocean for 19 days and used an underwater robot to observe seamounts and baby octopuses.
Dr Jyotika Virmani, executive director of the institute, said: “The discovery of a new active octopus nursery over 2,800 metres beneath the sea surface in Costa Rican waters proves there is still so much to learn about our ocean.
“The deep-sea off Costa Rica rides the edge of human imagination, with spectacular footage collected by ROV SuBastian of tripod fish, octopus hatchlings, and coral gardens.
“We look forward to continuing to help the world witness and study the wonders of our incredible ocean.”