A new species of octopus has been found in the Pacific Ocean, and as it turns out, it may have been under our noses the whole time.
In a rather incredible new finding, a new species of octopus has been identified in the Pacific Ocean, and it was all due to a student working on a senior thesis project. Nathan Hollenback, a student at Alaska Pacific University, noticed that a species of octopus which had been assumed to be a variation of the common giant Pacific octopus had some key differences, so he decided to investigate.
Specifically, the octopus in question had two white spots at the front of his head, while the common version has only one, and this octopus also appeared to have a frill running down its body. After taking some DNA samples, Hollenback confirmed that this was indeed a new species.
It is being called the frilled giant Pacific octopus, after one of the distinct features that helped him identify it as a separate species. He believes that while its more common cousin lives along a wide range of the ocean from the western U.S. to Japan, this new species probably lives in a smaller area along the Alaskan coast and the Bering Sea.
“Novel morphotype octopuses were identified by an absence of longitudinal mantle folds,” reads an intro to the paper as posted by Alaska Octopus Projects, “the presence of a lateral mantle frill comprised of a semi-continuous line of broad merged papillae forming a frill or flap along the mid-lateral mantle, the absence of papillae or rugose texture on the ventral mantle below the frill, and two distinctly seperated frontal white spots (rather than a single simple or compound spot, or none).”