Rare Glass Octopus Spotted for the First Time in Years

By: Georgia | Last updated: Oct 23, 2023

Marine scientists have captured rare footage of a glass octopus with transparent skin while exploring seamounts in the Pacific Ocean. 

This discovery provides significant insight into one of the ocean’s lesser-known inhabitants.

Nature's Transparent Marvel

The octopus, scientifically known as Vitreledonella richardi, possesses unique transparent skin. 

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Source: Bulletin de l'Institut océanographique

Its optic nerve, eyeballs, and digestive tract are the only visible features, making it a distinctive marine species.

A Century of Limited Sightings

Although researchers have known about the existence of the glass octopus for over a hundred years, capturing footage of it has been exceptionally rare.

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Source: Schmidt Ocean/YouTube

Consequently, much of their knowledge has been gleaned from examining the remains found in predators’ stomach contents.

The Scope of the Exploration

During an expedition near the Phoenix Islands, marine scientists embarked on a comprehensive study. 

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Source: Wikimedia Commons

Over 34 days, they successfully mapped more than 30,000 square kilometers of seafloor and thoroughly explored five additional seamounts.

The Team Behind the Discovery

The expedition was conducted by the Schmidt Ocean Institute’s dedicated marine scientists aboard a specialized research vessel. 

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Source: Wikimedia Commons

Their focus was to study and document the varied marine life in the area.

A Window into the Ocean's Depths a

According to Dr. Jyotika Virmani, executive director of the Schmidt Ocean Institute, live-streaming their dives allowed them to showcase seldom-seen marine species.

Source: Schmidt Ocean/YouTube

This approach has bridged the gap between researchers and the broader public, offering an intimate view of oceanic wonders.

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Encountering the Rare Whale Shark

The team utilized an underwater robot named SuBastian to assist in their research. 

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Source: Wikimedia Commons

This advanced equipment captured footage of a rare whale shark, estimated to exceed 40 feet in length.

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Observing Other Marine Behavior

During their research dives, scientists observed unique marine behaviors. 

Source: Ilona Ivanova/Unsplash

One such behavior was crabs seizing fish from one another, showcasing the intricate dynamics of underwater ecosystems.

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The Ocean's Untapped Treasures

Wendy Schmidt, co-founder of the Schmidt Ocean Institute, emphasized the ocean’s vastness and its untapped potential. 

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Source: SchmidtOcean/Instagram

She noted that it holds wonders that are yet to be discovered or even imagined by researchers.

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Ocean Health and Its Implications

Marine ecosystems play a vital role in global health and sustainability.

Source: SchmidtOcean/Instagram

By gaining a deeper understanding of these systems, researchers can underscore the importance of conserving and protecting oceanic environments.

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Advancing Marine Research

Every expedition contributes valuable insights into marine ecosystems. 

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Source: SchmidtOcean/Instagram

Wendy Schmidt highlighted the need for continued efforts to study, restore, and understand the intricacies of marine life.

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An Endless Horizon of Ocean Exploration

With each discovery, we’re reminded of the vastness and complexity of our oceans. 

Source: Olga Ga/Unsplash

The research undertaken by organizations like the Schmidt Ocean Institute stresses the need for continued exploration and preservation of these underwater realms.

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