Glass Octopus Facts
- Most notably, the incredible Glass Octopus, in a marvel of evolution, possesses a nearly transparent body. This leads some to compare it to a living glass sculpture, 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 extremely rare.
- While we know little about its numbers, the IUCN lists it as a Species of Least Concern. It holds this status due to its apparent wide distribution, despite little reliable data about its numbers.
- Marine biologists also believe its transparent nature provides more protection than traditional camouflage. At the depths it inhabits, this renders individuals virtually invisible to prey and predators alike.
Glass Octopus Physical Description
First of all, the Glass Octopus remains quite elusive. This occurs mainly because of its habitat, and its transparent nature. Yet we have been able to determine a few facts about the remarkable species.
Individuals appear to reach an average mantle length of 4.3 in (11 cm). In addition these also achieve an overall length of 17.8 in (45 cm). While relatively tiny, this cephalopod holds some surprises.
Furthermore, the transparency of this amazing animal does not comprise its only fascinating feature. Additionally, one pair of tentacles grows shorter than the others, and suckers display small and widespread.
Also, the eyes of this octopus evolved in an extraordinary manner. These have an almost perfectly rectangular shape. For the moment, the evolutionary purpose behind this continues to remain a mystery.
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Mollusca
- Class: Cephalopoda
- Order: Octopoda
- Family: Vitreledonellidae
- Genus: Vitreledonella
- Species: V. richardi
Glass Octopus Distribution, Habitat, and Ecology
The remarkable Glass Octopus has a rather wide distribution across the globe. Further, it appears to inhabit virtually all tropical and subtropical waters. However, it remains a pelagic zone species, which contributes greatly to our lack of extensive knowledge of it.
It also inhabits depths ranging from 656 ft (200 m) to 13,123 ft (4,000 m), where we rarely venture. In addition, though widespread, it does not appear to inhabit either the Arctic Ocean or Antarctic Ocean.
While we know little of its reproductive processes, we do know the female broods hundreds of eggs at once. Undoubtedly carnivorous, experts assume its diet consists primarily of fish and small crustaceans sharing its zone.
Finally, given its small size, its own natural predators likely include pelagic sharks and rays. Given the depths it inhabits, the transparent nature likely serves it quite well as a means of defense.