ENVIRONMENT

Ethereal 'Glass Octopus' Captured On Camera By Deep-Sea Scientists

The rarely seen deep-sea creature is the star of beautiful footage from a Schmidt Ocean Institute research vessel.

Footage of a rarely seen glass octopus ― a creature named for its nearly transparent skin ― is just one result of a deep-sea scientific exploration of seamounts in the central Pacific Ocean.

The glass octopus's see-through skin may help the elusive creature hide from both predators and prey.
The glass octopus's see-through skin may help the elusive creature hide from both predators and prey.

Marine scientists spent 34 days exploring the Phoenix Islands archipelago aboard the Falkor, a research vessel from the Schmidt Ocean Institute, a news release from the institute said.

Scientists believe that in addition to capturing the glass octopus on video, they may have identified previously unknown marine species. They also spotted a rare deep-water whale shark.

The see-through appearance of the glass octopus, scientific name Vitreledonella richardi, may help the animal hide from both predators and prey, according to Scientific American. The ghostly eight-armed beings are believed to grow to about 17 inches in length.

The researchers hope their findings, which also included mapping the ocean floor, will contribute to better protection of ocean life.

“Now is the time to think about conservation broadly across all oceanscapes, and the maps, footage, and data we have collected will hopefully help to inform policy and management in decision making around new high seas protected areas,” said Randi Rotjan of Boston University, the expedition’s chief scientist.

Wendy Schmidt, Schmidt Ocean Institute co-founder, echoed that sentiment.

The ocean “holds wonders and promises we haven’t even imagined, much less discovered,” she said.