Ghost-Like Octopus Discovered Off Hawaii May Be New Species

The octopus was found in waters more than 4,000 meters deep.

This ghost-like octopus was found more than 4,000 meters deep off the coast of Hawaii. Photo by NOAA

The deep blue sea never ceases to amaze. Scientists on the Okeanos Explorer, a National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) research vessel was exploring off the coast of Hawaii February 27 when its ROV, or remote operated vehicle came across a spectacularly ghost-like octopus at more than 4,290 meters deep. The little cephalopod was sitting in sediment on the ocean floor, just waving its tentacles to and fro.


NOAA researcher Michael Vecchione described the animal as Casper-like, as in Casper the friendly ghost of cartoon fame, and believe that it is a new species that has not yet been described.

The animal lacked chromatophores, the pigment cells that give animals color and according to the scientists, didn’t seem particularly muscular. The researchers also described the octopus as belonging to the incirrate group of octopods, one of two groups of octopod. Octopods that belong to the same family as Casper the friendly octopod lack fins and fingerlike cirri and looks like shallow water Octopus. Vechhione said their information about this little octopod may be combined with a German researcher’s work on octopods in the Eastern Pacific for a future scientific paper.

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