Scientists aboard Schmidt Ocean Institute's research vessel Falkor went on a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) dive in the Phoenix Islands Archipelago in the Pacific Ocean and found this beauty: a glass octopus.
The glass octopus or Vitreledonella richardi is a rare species of octopus that gets its name from its ability to being almost completely transparent. The only parts that aren't transparent are its optic nerve, eyeballs and digestive tract. It is one of the least studied octopus, with most specimens known to scientists being found in the stomachs of predators.
The yellow dots in the glass octopus' skin between its arms are chromatophores, or pigmented organs that let the octopus change colors for camouflage.
via Schmidt Ocean
During this research expedition, the scientists conducted high-resolution seafloor mapping of more than 30,000 square kilometers (11,500 square miles) and explored a total of 6 seamounts (or underwater mountains).
The deep-sea dives were performed with the Schmidt Ocean Institute's ROV named SuBastian (a combination of 'sub'surface and 'Bastian', a character from The Never Ending Story novel - that explains the vessel Falkor's name and two onboard boats named Atreyu and Auryn).
During the deep sea dives, scientists operating the ROV SuBastian encountered a few more fantastic sea creatures shown below. "The coverage of this expedition was remarkable–we found changes in species across depth and geography around the Pacific equator and in the suite of organisms living on corals," said Dr. Tim Shank, biologist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in a statement. "Looking into these deep-sea communities has altered the way we think about how organisms live and interact on seamounts and how they maintain diversity of life in the deep ocean."
Broad pink coral
Precious coral (or red coral) with seastar
White sea fan coral
Research vessel Falkor
Images and video: Schmidt Ocean Institute