Monday 5 December 2016

Meet Casper the friendly octopus - ghostlike, weak and a possible new species

Published 05/03/2016 | 13:11

The possible new species of octopus was found while searching the Pacific Ocean floor (NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research/AP)
The possible new species of octopus was found while searching the Pacific Ocean floor (NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research/AP)

Scientists say they have discovered what might be a new species of octopus while searching the Pacific Ocean floor near the Hawaiian Islands.

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A team found a small octopus at a depth of about 2.5 miles in the ocean near Necker Island, said Michael Vecchione of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The octopus did not have fins and all of its suckers were in one row on each arm, he said, adding that it was light coloured and "did not seem very muscular".

Mr Vecchione said: "This resulted in a ghostlike appearance, leading to a comment on social media that it should be called Casper, like the friendly cartoon ghost. It is almost certainly an undescribed species."

It is unusual to find an octopus without fins so deep in the ocean, said Mr Vecchione, who noted that the previous depths at which an octopus without fins was found were all less than 2.5 miles.

Two scientists he has consulted "agreed that this is something unusual and is a depth record," said Mr Vecchione, who is with NOAA's National Systematics Laboratory.

The octopus was discovered on February 27 during a search of the ocean floor by NOAA's Okeanos Explorer, he said.

Press Association

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