Never-before-seen octopus discovered off Hawaiian Islands
The adorable octopod was spotted by a remotely operated vehicle collecting geological samples from the ocean floor off Necker Island.
Four thousand meters below sea level, scientists encountered what researchers with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) are calling the deepest dwelling octopus yet discovered.
The octopod—a small, pigment-less looking thing just a few inches wide—was spotted while the remotely operated vehicle, Deep Discoverer, was collecting geological samples from the Pacific Ocean floor northeast of Mokumanamana (Necker Island).
NOAA adjunt scientist Michael Vecchione journals that it’s “almost certainly an undescribed species and may not belong to any described genus.”
He writes of the unusual find:
A distinctive characteristic was that the suckers were in one, rather than two, series on each arm. This animal was particularly unusual because it lacked the pigment cells, called chromatophores, typical of most cephalopods, and it did not seem very muscular. This resulted in a ghostlike appearance, leading to a comment on social media that it should be called Casper, like the friendly cartoon ghost.
The as-of-now unclassified creature stuck around on camera for a few moments before scurrying away in all its adorable glory.