A marine biologist captured her experience with a rare sea creature at the Great Barrier Reef, and the footage is incredible.

The 'once in a lifetime encounter' occurred while Jacinta Shackleton was snorkeling around the reef near Lady Elliot Island, located off the coast of Queensland.

It was then that she spotted the blanket rainbow-hued octopus twirling through the waters around.

Shackleton shared an image and video of the rare creature on Instagram.

“Today I had such an incredible snorkel and came across a BLANKET OCTOPUS! 🐙These animals are a rarely encountered pelagic octopus species that spend their whole lifecycle in the open ocean,” she began her caption.

The marine biologist also dropped a fun fact on her social media post, saying: “The first live male was only sighted in 2002! 🤯🔎.”

The octopus looks unreal and so so magical swimming around.

As she explained, the animal spends most of its time in the open ocean, making this up-close interaction so rare.

Images of Shackleton’s new friend were also shared on her page in a follow up post.

“Rare Blanket Octopus!🐙🌈 A few images from my encounter with a young female blanket octopus on Thursday!” she wrote.

Of her experience, she said: “The colours in her cape were incredible and it was fascinating to watch the way she moved through the water. Surely a once-in-a-lifetime encounter for me, so grateful!”

Fascinating is an understatement.

Sign up to our new free Indy100 weekly newsletter

First discovered in 1963, the blanket octopus gets its name because of the sheets of webbing it has that stretch between some of its arms.

“The colors in her cape were incredible and it was fascinating to watch the way she moved through the water,” Shackleton told Bundaberg Now.

Please log in or register to upvote this article
The Conversation (0)