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

Published March 7, 2016
Updated February 1, 2018

See the mysterious "ghost octopus" scientists just discovered in the dark ocean depths off the coast of Hawaii.

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.

author
Nickolaus Hines
author
Nickolaus Hines graduated with a Bachelor's in journalism from Auburn University, and his writing has appeared in Men's Journal, Inverse, and VinePair.
editor
John Kuroski
editor
John Kuroski is the editorial director of All That's Interesting. He graduated from New York University with a degree in history, earning a place in the Phi Alpha Theta honor society for history students. An editor at All That's Interesting since 2015, his areas of interest include modern history and true crime.
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Hines, Nickolaus. "Video Of The Day: See The Deep-Water Ghost Octopus That’s Confounding Scientists." AllThatsInteresting.com, March 7, 2016, https://allthatsinteresting.com/ghost-octopus. Accessed June 25, 2024.