I believe very strongly that wild animals belong living in the wild, but I'll be damned if adorable unnamed species of octopus isn't challenging my convictions. I mean, would you just look at it?! It's precious, tiny, and pink, with huge eyes and these dopey-looking, cute little fins that look like ears. It's like a underwater mini-cloud of sweetness. I'm over here like "That's OK, little octopus. You go and swim away with my heart: I wasn't even using it until you came along, anyway, because you and only you have taught me what real love is." I defy anyone to tell me I am wrong for dreaming of making it my beloved pet.
Little is known about this sweet little squish-squish. It's a deep sea cephalopod (that's fancy science-talk for octopuses and squids...and yes, "octopuses" is correct; "octopi" is yuck) that has been nominally studied since 1990. Last year, the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) collected several live specimens for research purposes. They did such a great job recreating its underwater home that one of the little darlings laid eggs! Oh my god, can you imagine baby versions of these things? You could weaponize them to have people die of a spontaneous cutesplosion! The eggs have been gestating for more than a year (which seems excessive to me, since I can tell you from experience that gestating for under a year is annoying as hell, but apparently this is not uncommon for deep sea critters), and an anxiously excited world may have to wait years more to see teh bebbehs.
But here's something that is of particular interest to me: Despite the fact that we have known about this species for a while, it still isn't named! Come on! 25 years is time enough to name someone, especially someone as cute as this little guy! I feel like that's literally the first thing I would do. Researcher Stephanie Bush, who is responsible for describing the species, is also responsible for naming them, and says she is considering Opistoteuthis adorabilis, "Because they are just... yeah. They're really cute." Truth.
But may I humbly make a suggestion? What about Cute-ulhu? Because it's like Cthulhu, the terrifying Lovecraftian Elder God, except, you know, adorable.
Check out the Science Friday video below. Oh, and if I don't see you before June 19th, Happy Cephalopod Week!
Images: YouTube (3)