One of the things scientists and naturalists are often loathe to admit in public is that they find all sorts of things cute. For instance, when I worked at a public aquarium, one of my favorite creatures in the whole place was an anemone about three centimeters in diameter. Most people didn’t even notice it in the tank, but I visited it on a regular basis. Oh, little Proliferating Anemone, I miss you!
So it’s always fun when a scientist declares, on video, that she finds something so darn cute that she’s thinking about enshrining its cuteness in its official taxonomic name.
Meet what might end up being the Adorable Octopus, Opisthoteuthis adorabilis. From the YouTube text:
What do you call a tiny octopus with big eyes, gelatinous skin and [which] is cute as a button? Nobody knows quite yet! Stephanie Bush of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute aims to classify and name this presently undescribed deep-sea cephalopod using preserved specimens and a clutch of eggs housed at the Monterey Bay Aquarium.
I’m guessing MBARI got some worried emails about fragile eggs being under a microscope, because the YouTube text was modified to add:
**DISCLAIMER** from Dr. Stephanie Bush: The Opisthoteuthis eggs depicted in this video are preserved specimens, not the eggs laid at the Monterey Bay Aquarium (which are still being lovingly incubated at MBARI’s Cold Storage Facility!).
Well, that made me feel better. Go, eggs, go!
(Also…did anyone else get a Finding Nemo vibe while watching this video? “I shall call him Squishy and he shall be mine, and he shall be my Squishy.”)