The Monterey Bay Aquatic Research Institute (MBARI) of Moss Landing, California has taken the animal kingdom spotlight by storm with the discovery of a new deep sea octopus of the Opisthoteuthis genus. Why do people care? Because it is possibly the cutest underwater creature you’ve ever seen (maybe second to the Axolotl Salamander). Tasked with studying and describing the creature, Stephanie Bush, a current postdoctoral fellow at the MBARI, has become particularly enamored with it. As the one who is researching the octopus, which was collected in early 2014, Bush has the privilege of naming the species. Her unofficial name? Opisthoteuthis Adorabilis.
Bush’s priority is determining what makes this species different than others in the genus. Those unique qualities thus far are that they’re small, gelatinous, fragile, have large eyes for their bodies, and a well developed web between the arms that they can expand, allowing themselves to parachute through the water, and use the fins on their heads to move around. I know what you’re thinking – “I wish I was an Opisthoteuthis Adorabilis.” I thought the same thing. The species is currently being looked after in conjunction with the Monterey Bay Aquarium in their state-of-the-art facilities. In fact, the facilities have done such a great job of taking care of them that they have laid several eggs. The eggs have been in incubation for over a year now, but Bush projects that by nature of the genus, they could be looking at another 1.5 – 2 years before the cuties hatch.