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‘Ghostlike’ and Possibly New Species of Octopus Spotted Off Hawaii

  • VOA News

This ghostlike octopod is almost certainly an undescribed species and may not belong to any described genus. (NOAA)

Scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration think they may have spotted a new species of octopus.

The discovery came February 27 off Neckler Island in the Hawaiian Archipelago, in water over 4,000 meters deep, during the first dive of 2016 by NOAA’s Okeanos Explorer.

While exploring the area, Okeanos’ remotely-operated vehicle, Deep Discoverer, spotted the deep-sea octopod perched on a flat rock some 4,290 meters deep.

According to NOAA, “the appearance of this animal was unlike any published records and was the deepest observation ever for this type of cephalopod.”

There are two types of deep-sea octopii. First is the “cirrate” or finned type, which have fins on their sides and “fingerlike cirri associated with the suckers on their arms.”

The second type are called “incirrate” which lack the fins and cirri.

The white octopod falls into the second group, NOAA said, adding that its suckers were “in one, rather than two, series on each arm.” Also, it lacked pigment cells and “did not seem very muscular.”

NOAA described the creature as having a “ghostlike appearance,” leading some to call it Casper, after the friendly ghost of cartoon fame.

“It is almost certainly an undescribed species and may not belong to any described genus,” said NOAA.

The Okeanos Explorer is a U.S. government-funded ship that explores the world’s oceans.

Here's a video of the creature:

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