Grimpoteuthis species can be separated based on shell form, presence of a radula and posterior salivary glands, arrangement of suckers and cirri and gill morphology. Two species, G. megaptera Verrill and G. plena Verrill, have been described from the north-west Atlantic, but the types are either lost (G. megaptera) or in poor condition (G. plena), hindering comparisons.
Five species of Grimpoteuthis are recognized in the north-east Atlantic. The type species, G. umbellata (Fisher, 1883) is known only from the type specimen, which is in such poor condition that comparison with recently captured material was not possible. G. wuelkeri is a large, slope species, caught between 1600 m and 2200 m in the north-east and north-west Atlantic.
Grimpoteuthis are in the family Opisthoteuthidae (umbrella octopuses) external and have short, squat, semi-gelatinous bodies with an internal U or V-shaped cartilaginous shell. They lack the secondary web (the web which extends from each arm to the primary web) and longer cirri found in the family Cirroteuthidae external and their eyes are much more developed. They can grow up to about 20 external cm in length.
Grimpoteuthis octopuses are part of the Cirrina suborder external. Cirrates differ from other octopuses by generally having abandoned jet propulsion, relying on their fins as their primary mode of locomotion.
They are somewhat less compressed in the anterior-posterior axis than are members of Opisthoteuthis and they generally have relatively larger fins. Species are closely associated with the deep-ocean floor and some species, at least, alternate between sitting on the ocean bottom and swimming above it while some others apear to be completely pelagic.
The male reproductive tract shows considerable variation between species and is frequently described for new species. However the amount of variation within a species is unknown and therefore the specific value of the structures of the tract is uncertain. In addition there is some confusion regarding the identification of the various parts.
Grimpoteuthis swim by moving their fins, pulsing their webbed arms, pushing water through their funnel for jet propulsion, or all three at once. They can swim up off the bottom and hover a bit just above the seafloor looking for snails, worms, and other food.
Also known as the "Dumbo octopod," the Grimpoteuthis is a benthic mollusc found on the ocean floor at depths of 300-400 meters (984-1312 ft). Dumbo octopods, which can grow to up to 20 centimeters (8 inches), are soft-bodied octopods with a pair of fins located on their mantle and webbing between their arms.
The Dumbo octopus has a soft body, an adaptation to its deep-water habitat, and eight arms connected to each other almost to their tips by “webbing.” Its diet includes worms and snails.
Little is known about the Dumbo octopus, as only a few have been recorded. Its common name derives from a pair of unusual, earlike flaps extending from the mantle above its eyes.