Scientists are perplexed by the strange “Red Glob” that has washed up on Washington Beach. Could it be a Rare Seven?

 

The Strange “Red Glob” that Has Washed Ashore on Washington Beach Has Scientists Baffled: Could it be a Rare Seven-Armed Octopus

 

A mysterious and puzzling discovery has left scientists scratching their heads on the shores of Washington state. A strange “red glob” washed ashore on a beach, sparking speculation and confusion among beachgoers and researchers alike. The enigmatic creature has ignited a wave of curiosity and intrigue, with some suggesting it could be a rare seven-armed octopus.

 

The unusual finding was made by Roᴍ Newberry, a local communications specialist, who stumbled upon the peculiar “red glob” at Ebey’s Landing during low tide on the morning of August 29. Uncertain of its identity, Newberry captured a photo and sent it to the Whidbey News-Times. He described his reluctance to touch the mysterious creature, suspecting it to be a deceased animal, possibly a large jellyfish, commonly found washed up on the shore.

 

However, the misshapen and unique appearance of the creature sparked a frenzy of speculation. One suggestion put forth by an engineer from the Seattle Aquarium was that it resembled a vampire squid, known to inhabit depths of up to 3,000 feet below the ocean’s surface. Others theorized that it could be a decomposed giant Pacific octopus, one of the largest octopus species in the world.

 

Intrigued by the puzzling creature, the News-Times shared the images with a biology professor at the University of Washington. Even the professor was unable to definitively identify the creature and sought the opinions of other biologists. The photos soon made their way to experts from various institutions, including the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute in California, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the Smithsonian Institution.

After much deliberation and analysis, the consensus among experts is that the creature is likely a Haliphron atlanticus, commonly known as the “seven-armed octopus.” This species is typically found in the Atlantic Ocean, although sightings have been reported in the South Pacific near New Zealand. The possibility of a seven-armed octopus appearing off the coast of Washington is exceedingly rare, making the discovery all the more astonishing.

 

Elaina Jorgenson from NOAA noted that sightings of Haliphron off the coast of British Columbia have been documented, suggesting that it is not entirely unprecedented for them to venture as far north as Puget Sound. However, other experts expressed surprise at the species’ presence in the area. Dr. Michael Vecchione of the Smithsonian Institution remarked that shifting distributions among marine species have become more common in recent times.

Given the creature’s partially decomposed state, scientists lean towards it being an H. atlanticus rather than a giant Pacific octopus. Its jelly-like texture, shape, and size align more closely with the former species. Nevertheless, our understanding of deep-sea creatures remains limited, and the seven-armed octopus is no exception. Interestingly, the male individuals of this species tend to keep their eighth arm tucked away inside a sac near their eye for breeding purposes, while females, typically larger than males, possess eight fully-visible arms.

 

The H. atlanticus is an active swimmer, similar to jellyfish, which appears to be their preferred prey. It has long competed with the giant Pacific octopus for the title of the world’s largest octopus species. New Zealand biologist Steve O’Shea encountered one specimen estimated to weigh around 165 pounds. In comparison, the creature found by Newberry is relatively small, measuring only about 3.5 feet.

If the current hypothesis proves accurate, this remarkable discovery may mark the first recorded instance of a seven-armed octopus found in the Puget Sound area or Washington state. The strange “red glob” has not only captivated scientists but also serves as a reminder of the mysteries that lie beneath the ocean’s surface, waiting tobe unveiled and studied by curious minds.

 

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