Ghost-like ‘Casper’ octopod discovered

Media caption“Casper” was discovered in the Pacific Ocean

Scientists say a translucent, “ghost-like” octopod discovered in ocean depths near Hawaii is “almost certainly” a new species.

It was found by a submersible vehicle at a depth of around 2.5 miles (4km) off Necker Island.

Scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said it was a depth record for an octopod without fins.

The creature has already been nicknamed “Casper” after the cartoon ghost.

The octopod lacked pigment cells, giving it its light-coloured appearance.

“It is almost certainly an undescribed species” Michael Vecchione of the NOAA said, calling it a “remarkable little octopod”.

Deep-sea octopods fall into two categories – cirrate, or ‘Dumbo’, octopods with fins, or incirrate octopods, without fins, which look more akin to shallow-water octopus.

The sighting of Casper represents the deepest ever observed sighting of an incirrate octopod, Mr Vecchione said.

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Image caption

The Remote Operated Vehicle (ROV) Deep Discoverer made the find on 27 February

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