Sunday, March 06, 2016

Possible New Octopod Species Located

NOAA researchers have located a ghost-like octopod living in the deep waters off the Hawaiian island of Necker (Mokumanamana).  A submersible spotted the animal at a depth of 2.5 miles, and unlike other cephalopods,  it does not have any pigmentation cells, called chromatophores.  Immediately it was nicknamed 'Casper' after the cartoon character for its ghostly appearence.  The animal seemed unfazed by being observed, its dark eyes starring directly into the camera.  But when the camera got too close it started to climb away. [video] The submersible Deep Discoverer is part of a geologic survey of a narrow ridge feature that extends past the current US exclusive economic zone.

Apparently a member of the incirrate (lack of fins) octopod family, the animal did not look very muscular but more gelatinous, an adaptation that would help it survive a great depths where food is scarce.  'Casper' is almost certainly a member of an undescribed species, if not genus.  The discovery is the deepest observation ever recorded for this type of incirrate.