Video Of The Day: See The Deep-Water Ghost Octopus That’s Confounding Scientists

Once again, we have proof that no matter how much we think we know about the Earth’s oceans, there’s always more to learn.

On February 27, researchers from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) found a ghostly looking octopus more than 2.5 miles below the surface of the ocean near Hawaii — and it’s unlike any creature that’s ever been seen before.

NOAA’s deep-diving robot Deep Discoverer found the yet-unnamed cephalopod while collecting geologic information on its first dive of 2016. The tiny animal is most similar to incirrate (or un-finned) octopods, but instead of two parallel lines of suckers on each arm, it has just one. It also lacks chromatophore pigments that give other octopi the ability to change colors, leaving this little animal the color of a rice noodle (earning it the nickname “ghost octopus”) — an adaptation that makes sense in the depths of the nearly sun-less ocean. Scientists also noted that “it did not seem very muscular.”

“It is almost certainly an undescribed species,” the NOAA wrote in a blog post, “and may not belong to any described genus.”

Incirrate octopods are generally found in shallow waters, and look the way most people imagine an octopus would look. This new “ghost octopus,” however, looks more like Casper the Friendly Ghost — a resemblance not lost on commenters around the web.


For more examples of the animals that inhabit or oceans, check out seven of the most frighteningly bizarre ocean creatures. Then, listen to the new Mariana Trench recording that reveals mysterious sounds in the very deepest part of the ocean.

Nickolaus Hines
Nickolaus Hines is a freelance writer in New York City. He graduated from Auburn University, and his recent bylines can be found at Men's Journal, Inverse, and Grape Collective.
Close Pop-in
Like All That Is Interesting

Get The Most Fascinating Content On The Web In Your Facebook & Twitter Feeds