An underwater research craft has spotted a “ghostlike” octopus that appears to belong to a previously unknown species at a depth of more than two miles (3 km) on the floor of the Pacific Ocean near Hawaii, U.S. scientists say. The milky white creature, nicknamed “Casper the Friendly Ghost” by Twitter users, was caught on cameras mounted on the craft at a depth of 4,290 meters, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said. Describing the animal as an incirrate octopod, one of two main groupings of octopods, NOAA said it was the first time an incirrate was spotted so deep in the ocean. “This animal was particularly unusual because it lacked the pigment cells, called chromatophores, typical of most cephalopods, and it did not seem very muscular,” said Michael Vecchione, a research zoologist at NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service. Cephalopods belong to a biological class that includes octopuses, squid and cuttlefish. The octopod “almost certainly” was one of a species never previously described by scientists, and it may well belong to a genus that has yet to be identified.
From Reuters Photo Credit NOAA