Balloon-Like Bolitaenid Octopus

Thanks to our keen-eyed audience for IDing this bolitaenid octopus spotted on our dive exploring an unnamed guyot northwest of Kingman Reef. Our control van was delighted to see this balloon-like creature (originally suspected to be a piglet squid, but confirmed to be a diaphanous pelagic octopod) float across the view while ROV Hercules explored the seafloor. Found worldwide, especially over seamounts and knolls, the pelagic octopus, Japatella diaphana, is characterized by its small size and relatively short arms compared to the dome-shaped mantle. 

In our first expedition of 2023, NA149, the team returns to the Pacific Remote Islands region of Kingman Reef and Palmyra Atoll in the Central Pacific. Through two previous Nautilus expeditions, we’ve been working to increase global baseline knowledge of the deep-water habitats and seafloor formations of this remote region larger than the state of New Mexico. 

Learn more about this expedition funded by NOAA Ocean Exploration via the Ocean Exploration Cooperative Institute.