'Ghostlike’ Octopus Discovered Near Hawaii

Posted: Mar 5 2016, 6:06am CST | by , Updated: Mar 5 2016, 8:42am CST, in News | Latest Science News

'Ghostlike’ Octopus Discovered near Hawaii

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NOAA researchers suggest that the unusual creature is possibily a new species of octopus.

A mysterious white colored octopus has been found on the Pacific Ocean floor near the Hawaiian Islands and researchers believe that this could possibly be a new species of octopus.

In late February, researchers from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration were exploring the depths of water around Necker Island in Hawaii. Their primary objective was to collect geological samples from mid-ocean ridge so they can compare the composition of those samples with previously collected ones when they stumbled across a ‘ghostlike’ octopus sitting on flat rock in deep sea.

The octopus was lurking in the depths of 4,000 meters (14,000 feet), making it the deepest-dwelling octopod- a group of invertebrates including octopus. The strange thing about the octopus was that it lacked the pigment cells, called chromatophores. These cells determine the skin color of animals. Moreover, it seemed quite lean compared to other known octopus species, giving a friendly cartoon ghost Casper-like look.

Deep -sea octopuses have two distinct groups; the cirrate which are characterized by fins on their body and fingerlike cirri with the suckers on their arm and incirrate octopus which do not have fins and cirri.

The features of the newly-discovered octopus suggests that it falls into incirrate group but it has suckers in one rather two series two of each arm. According to NOAA, this kind of octopus has not been reported before and it is almost certainly a new species of octopus.

“The appearance of this animal was unlike any published records and was the deepest observation ever for this type of cephalopod.” Michael Vecchione, a NOAA zoologist wrote.

Researchers suggest that the black tiny eyes of the octopus are probably working well because the deep-dwelling creature was responding to the lights of NOAA’s ship.

“When the sub got up close to it, it started climbing away, either reacting to lights of the sub or vibrations of the water.” Vecchione told National Geographic.

NOAA researchers are excited to find this unexpected creature and are considering documenting their observations in scientific literature.

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Hira Bashir covers daily affairs around the world.




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