Glass Octopus


Glass Octopus


Glass Octopus Facts


  • The incredible Glass Octopus possesses a nearly transparent body, leading some to compare it to glass, hence the name. Yet the fact that it’s transparent remains one of the few details we know about the species. Due to the nature of its habitat, encounters with this ocean species have been rare.
  • While we know little about their numbers, the IUCN lists them as a Species of Least Concern. They hold this status due to their apparent wide distribution, despite little reliable data about their numbers. Yet their current status on the Red List of Threatened Species may change as more data becomes available.
  • Though widespread, they do not appear to inhabit either the Arctic Ocean or Antarctic Ocean. Marine biologists also believe its transparent nature provides more protection than traditional camouflage. At the depths they inhabit, it renders them virtually invisible to prey and predators alike.
Glass Octopus


Glass Octopus Physical Description

Because of their habitat, and their transparent nature, the Glass Octopus remains quite elusive. Yet we have been able to determine a few facts about them.

They appear to reach an average mantle length of 4.3 in (11 cm), and an overall length of 17.8 in (45 cm). While relatively tiny, this cephalopod holds some surprises. One pair of tentacles grows shorter than the others, and suckers display small and widespread.

Their transparency does not comprise their only fascinating feature.

The eyes of this octopus have evolved in an almost perfectly rectangular shape! The evolutionary purpose behind this so far remains a mystery.

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Mollusca

Class: Cephalopoda

Order: Octopoda

Family: Vitreledonellidae

Genus: Vitreledonella

Glass Octopus


Glass Octopus Distribution, Habitat, and Ecology

The remarkable Glass Octopus has a rather wide distribution across the globe. They appear to inhabit virtually all tropical and subtropical waters but remain a pelagic zone species, which contributes greatly to our lack of extensive knowledge of them. They inhabit depths ranging from 656 ft (200 m) to 13, 123 ft (4,000 m), where we rarely venture.

While we know little of their reproductive processes, we do know the female broods hundreds of eggs at once. Undoubtedly carnivorous, experts assume their diet consists primarily of fish and small crustaceans sharing their zone.

Given their small size, their own natural predators likely include pelagic sharks and rays. Given the depths they inhabit, their transparent nature likely serves them well as a means of defense.

Other Bizarre Creatures of The Deep

Deep Sea Hatchetfish        Fangtooth        Pigbutt Worm

 Deep Sea Hatchetfish                    Fangtooth                            Pigbutt Worm

Check out our articles on Bioluminescent Octopus, Dumbo Octopus, Blanket Octopus, Mimic Octopus, Caribbean Reef Octopus, Glass Squid

Todd Sain Sr.