Casper the ghostly octopus has kept scientists enthralled since 2016

Casper, the adorable ‘ghost octopus’ was pictured in 2016 in the waters near Hawaii (Credits: NOAA)

Back in 2016, scientists photographed an octopus far deeper than they’d ever seen before.

Sitting nearly three miles below the surface on a seabed near Hawaii was a white octopus. Pale and ghostly in appearance, researchers quickly nicknamed the deep sea cephalopod ‘Casper.’

Previously only ‘dumbo’ octopuses had been observed at this kind of depth: named for the large flaps that sit on their heads like ears.

Six years since the discovery, researchers have revealed more details about their incredible find to The Guardian.

Perhaps most exciting are the many subsequent octopuses they’ve discovered.

The team now have several years’ worth of footage showing many more of these white octopuses.

‘It could be that they’re fairly common,’ Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago researcher Janet Voight said. ‘It’s just an indicator of how little we know about what’s down there.’

They’ve also observed clutches of octopus eggs on sea sponges, suggesting the creatures don’t only lay eggs on hard rocks, as previously believed.

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The team think octopuses like Casper lay around 30 partially-developed eggs to the stalks of dead sponges, according to Science. They then wrap themselves around the eggs to protect them as they grow – sometimes for very long periods of time.

They octopuses may not leave their eggs to feed, meaning that they often die looking after their young in what the outlet called a ‘heartbreaking’ parenting strategy.

Plenty more about Casper has surprised researchers over the years. For one, his ghostly white appearance.

Octopuses often have colourful skin that can adapt to its local environment, creating a camouflage effect. Researchers speculated that the creature’s pale colouring might be down to a lack of pigments in his deep-sea diet.

Casper also has relatively short arms for an octopus.

‘The shallower and more tropical you are, the longer and thinner your arms,’ researcher .

The team aren’t sure why Casper’s arms are so short and curly, but they think it might be to do with the way they catch prey at such depths.

For now, researchers will carry on exploring the oceans to find out more about Casper and his fellow deep-sea dwellers.

The team want to perform more sophisticated analyses of the creature, but it’s very difficult to collect samples at such depths.

‘With an octopus, you really need it in your hand,’ Voight explained.


MORE : The hidden world of octopus cities and culture shows why it’s wrong to farm them


MORE : Tragic pictures show octopuses using human litter for shelter on the sea floor


MORE : Extremely rare blanket octopus filmed ‘dancing’ above the Great Barrier Reef



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