Remarkable footage of a newly discovered species of cephalopod was released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Office of Ocean Exploration and Research. During the collection of geological samples between islands in the Hawaiian Archipelago, NOAA’s remotely operated vehicle (ROV) called “Deep Discoverer” captured images of a small never-before-documented octopod.
According to NOAA, the ghost-like octopod might not belong to any previously known genus of the species. The observation of this little octopod, dubbed by social media as “Casper” after the 1945 animation, was recorded as the deepest observation of this kind of cephalopod. Deep-sea octopods fall into one of two groups: the cirrate octopods (finned on the head with thread-like appendages, or cirri, around the suckers) and the incirrate octopods (not finned and without the cirri). This ghost-like cephalopod is an incirrate — incirrate octopods are not typically found in deep waters making the observation a record setter in addition to an incredible new discovery.
…incirrate octopods are not typically found in deep waters making the observation a record setter in addition to an incredible new discovery.
Live Science reported that the ghostly octopus appeared to unusually pale because it lacked chromatophores. Chromatophores are pigment cells that give a cephalopod its color, or colors. The reason that the octopod is almost certainly thought to be a new species, and quite possibly a new genus, has to do with the number of sucker rows on its tentacles — it has one where other incirrate octopods have two.
More observation and study is needed to confirm the new species. NOAA is considering a joint venture with German researchers who have observed deep-sea incirrate octopods in the Eastern Pacific. The venture would compile the observational information into a manuscript to be published in the primary literature.