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A transparent octopus filmed in the depths of the Pacific Ocean

A group of marine biologists can talk about great luck. While surveying the Pacific Ocean, an elusive transparent octopus appeared in front of their camera lens. An unusual animal that scientists have encountered in the depths of the Pacific Ocean is very difficult to spot. All because only the eyes, optic nerve and digestive tract
Published: August 11, 2021 - 09:00
Updated: July 22, 2023 - 23:03
A transparent octopus filmed in the depths of the Pacific Ocean

A group of marine biologists can talk about great luck. While surveying the Pacific Ocean, an elusive transparent octopus appeared in front of their camera lens.

An unusual animal that scientists have encountered in the depths of the Pacific Ocean is very difficult to spot. All because only the eyes, optic nerve and digestive tract of the creature are not transparent.

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organisms from the deep Pacific Ocean
Nearly 200 hours of video footage were collected during the expedition Photo: Schmidt Ocean Institute

The octopus was filmed while exploring deep parts of the Pacific Ocean using the ROV SuBastian. In addition to all the research equipment, the remotely operated device also has a set of high-quality cameras. These are the eyes of marine biologists in places that are inaccessible to humans on a daily basis.

After closer inspection, the researchers classified the animal as a species of Vitreledonella richardi. The creature’s English name is “glass octopus“, which fully reflects the appearance of this cephalopod.

The researchers, who were lucky enough to meet unusual octopusare an international team of scientists from the Schmidt Ocean Institute. They set off from Sydney aboard the research vessel Falkor to conduct a 34-day expedition. During the expedition they made a total of 21 underwater explorations of the Pacific Ocean lasting several hours. All, of course, using the technical wonder that is the SuBastian ROV.

Exceptional happiness

During their expedition, they twice came across the elusive transparent octopus. As a result, they can consider themselves extremely lucky. Although exploring the deep parts of the Pacific Ocean is not rare, encounters with Vitreledonella richardi yes. So much so that previously scientists, in order to get to know the species a little better, were forced to base their research on body fragments found in the digestive tracts of various predators.

A small crab from the depths of the ocean
The collected research material will be used for further analysis Photo: Schmidt Ocean Institute

Although the transparent octopus was discovered in 1918, we still know very little about it to this day. Especially when compared to many other cephalopods.

During the expedition, which Schmidt Ocean Institute scientists completed on 8 July, they managed to collect a very interesting research material. The team also carried out mapping the bottom of the Pacific Ocean in high resolution. The scientists scanned an area of more than 30,000 km2 around the Phoenix Archipelago. They also took a number of samples and recorded 182 hours of video footage for further analysis.

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About author

Tomasz Andrukajtis
Editor-in-chief of the DIVERS24 portal and magazine. Responsible for obtaining, translating and developing content. He also supervises all publications. Achived his first diving certification – P1 CMAS, in 2000. Has a degree in journalism and social communication. In the diving industry since 2008.
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