Naming your new pug puppy is one thing, name an entire species of octopus is another!
Stephanie Bush is taking on that responsibility. She’s a postdoctoral fellow who works at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute.
So what goes in to naming an entire species? Bush told ABC News:
“I was thinking about what my options are [for naming it], and I wanted it to be something indicative of the characteristic of the species. Since they’re so cute, I thought I could name it the Opistoteuthis adorabilis.”
Of course it was a joke but the name and the adorable little pink blob have since been going viral!
The tiny creature is pink and gelatinous with large eyes compared to its body. They have two little wing/flaps on their heads and have 8 legs all webbed together like an umbrella. To get around, they spread their legs out and float – using their “umbrella” extremities like a parachute. Until a name is officially assigned, they’ve been nicknamed the flapjack octopus. Personally, I think they’re a dead ringer for Pearl from Finding Nemo! Typically, they live about 450 meters deep and are usually around 7 inches diameter.
Bush and her coworkers had to use a specific remotely-operated vehicle to capture them for study. It took them just over a year to capture fifteen of them! She told Science Friday that their habitat differs from other cephalopod species and as such they’ve had to create a specific environment to mimic their natural home. They keep the water very cold and use a red light that disperses in the water so quickly that it goes undetected by the octopuses eyes.
The scientists did such a good job imitating their natural habitat that one of the octopuses even gave them a little gift…eggs! It could take up to three years for them to hatch into cute little pink blobs, so researchers are patiently waiting while they incubate.
Despite not yet being classified, their small size and large eyes allow these little teacup octopuses to make their mark regardless!
SciFri “Isn’t This Octopus Adorabilis?” Youtube. 15 June 2015. Web. 18 June 2015.