This Never-Before-Seen Octopus Has Fittingly Ghost-Like Features
Scientists believe they have found a previously undiscovered species of octopus some 2.5 miles below the surface of the ocean near Hawaii. The octopus appears to have few muscles, giving it a ghost-like appearance. Scientists made the discovery in late February 2016 while exploring the sea floor near Hawaii and Necker Island. Exploration at this depth is made possible using a remote-controlled vehicle along with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric ship, the Okeanos Explorer. The remote-controlled vehicle sends a live video feed back to the ship and provided the first glimpse of the octopus.
In addition to its light, ghost-like appearance, the octopus has a single row of suckers on each tentacle, which is unusual for octopuses. It is also the first octopod found at this depth without any fins.
The scientists explain the gelatinous appearance of the octopod is due to a lack of pigment cells. They attribute the lack of muscle to a lack of food at this depth, as building muscle requires more energy than is available to the creature. However, it appears to have functional eyes that respond to the lights of the exploration vessel.
This octopus’s ghastly appearance may give it an advantage in its environment, making it less visible to predators. For more fascinating sea life, watch the southern sand octopus disappear from view by shooting a stream of water into the sand to create a tunnel where it spends its days. At night, it emerges to hunt for food.