What If You Were Made of Glass?

What if you were see through? The glass octopus may not be made of glass, but it looks like it if you ever get a chance to actually see one!

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What: The glass octopus is an octopus that is almost completely transparent!

©SCHMIDT OCEAN INSTITUTE

Who: Glass octopuses are as hard to find as they are to see; thanks to The Schmidt Ocean Institute, we're learning a lot more about the glass octopus and how to protect the oceans that surround us.

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When: On July 21, 2021 a ship from The Schmidt Ocean Institute returned from a 34 day expedition in which it returned with two glass octopuses to study and discover more.

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Where: Glass octopuses live all over the planet deep (deep) down in the aphotic zone of the wide-open ocean spaces scientists call the pelagic zone; living in this zone has both given the glass octopus the environment to develop so many unique characteristics and contributes to why we know so little about them.

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How: If the glass octopus is so hard to find because it lives so far down in the open ocean, how do we discover more about the glass octopus? While scientists are getting better at finding and filming deep dwelling animals like the glass octopus, some specimens are found in the stomachs of predators--guess the glass octopus isn't 100% invisible after all.

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Why: Why can you see right through a glass octopus? The marine biologists who study glass octopuses believe the glass octopus has adapted its see-through ability to give it invisibility ability: "At the depths it inhabits, this renders individuals virtually invisible to prey and predators alike." (Our Breathing Planet: Glass Octopus)

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Huh?: What if the glass octopus doesn't have round eyes? They're rectangular! Scientists are still trying to figure out why. Why do you think glass octopuses have eyes rectangle eyes?

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Wow!: How deep (deep) down in is the aphotic zone in which the glass octopus hides? Well, the aphotic zone starts at 200m (660ft) and extends all the way down to the ocean floor--so deep less than 1% of the the Sun's light reaches the aphotic zone!

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*Bonus Wow!: What if you check out some of the footage the Schmidt Ocean Institute published from its findings on the glass octopus and other animals with wild adaptations!

Thanks for getting curious about animal abilities and adaptations with the Butt-Breathing Turtle. Keep getting curious about animals with The Screaming Hairy Armadillo and its free Educator's Guide!

Thank you for your curiosity, stay curious, and let your curiosity lead your learning with more Curiosity-Based Learning content and activities from What If Curiosity!


Thanks for the info!

Our Breathing Planet

Ocean Conservancy

Schmidt Ocean Institute