Vitrelladonella-Richardi

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Photographs of a rare variety of translucent pelagic octopus - Vitrelladonella richardi - taken from the DeepSee submersible.

Vitrelladonella richardi - the only known member of the class Vitrelladonella - is transparent and nearly colourless. They can grow up to 45 cm (around 18 inches) in length, and possess the interesting trait of having arms of unequal length. Where most octopodes brood their eggs in small underwater caves or similar hiding places, female Vitrelladonella richardi brood theirs inside their mantle cavity.

Vitrelladonella Richardi

We have just confirmed with Senior Scientist Bruce H. Robison, from the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, that the translucent octopus discovered in the DeepSee Submersible last week (April 10 2012) was in fact a very rare deep water pelagic octopus know as Vitrelladonella richardi. While there is no confirmed common name for the octopus Dr. Robison believes that they are found primarily in tropical and subtropical waters around the world and are very rarely seen. This is largely because they tend to be a deep water octopus and the DeepSee just happened to catch this little guy (80cm/2.6ft) shallower than usual at 180m/590ft. While Dr. Robison points out that not much is known about these translucent octopus he did tell us this:

“They are wonderfully transparent and the body parts that they can’t make transparent (like the eyes and digestive gland) are elongate and sort of teardrop-shaped, so that when the animal is horizontal they cast a minimal shadow against the lighted waters above.” - Dr. Bruce H Robison

Nothing can match the excitement of encountering such an incredible creature in the submarine. While at Cocos Island guests and crew all gathered around watching the footage of the octopus in awe. Check out the video below showing the octopus as well as the other highlights from the DeepSee dives during the Argo April 4-14th trip.  The ability to work hand in hand with leading scientists like Dr. Robison, whose research at the Monterey Bay Aquarium is focused on the biology and ecology of deep-sea animals, is the backbone of the DeepSee’s operation. 

As a guest aboard the DeepSee you have the unique opportunity to be a part of the discovery and exploration process because the sub’s video camera records each and every sub dive. This footage is sent to the research station in our San Jose office where scientists from the University of Costa Rica analyze the footage. Don’t miss a chance to be part of a scientific discovery and an incredible deep sea adventure. Make sure to book a ride in the DeepSee on your next trip to Cocos Island. Source: http://www.underseahunter.com/n28/deepsee-discovers-rare-pelagic-octopus.html