Researchers with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) discovered what may be a new species of ‘dumbo’ octopod at a depth of 4,290 metres during a deep ocean expedition near Hawaii’s Necker Island.
The ‘ghost-like’ octopod was spotted by Deep Discoverer, a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) from NOAA’s Okeanos Explorer, while doing a biological survey of ecological communities between between Necker Island and Necker Ridge, a 400-mile geological feature that extends from the Hawaiian Archipelago.
NOAA said the octopod, which is similar to appearance to shallow-water octopus species, may be new to science.
“As the ROV was traversing a flat area of rock interspersed with sediment at 4,290 meters, it came across a remarkable little octopod sitting on a flat rock dusted with a light coat of sediment. The appearance of this animal was unlike any published records and was the deepest observation ever for this type of cephalopod,” wrote Michael Vecchione of NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service. “This ghostlike octopod is almost certainly an un-described species and may not belong to any described genus.”
According to Vecchione, the octopod appears distinct from other related octopods in that “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 researcher said.
Published by Rhett Butler, source: Mongabay
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