In this video from Science Friday, the researcher working to classify a very, very cute species of deep-sea octopus reveals that she may end up naming the creature based on its appearance.
“One of the thoughts I had was making it ‘Opistoteuthis adorabilis’ because they are just—yeah, they’re really cute,” said Stephanie Bush, a researcher at Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute who's working to distinguish the creature from other species of octopus.
The official blog stance on this is that she absolutely has to, and if she doesn't we'll just die, and even if she does we might die anyway because we just cannot.
Scientists first found examples of this deep-sea octopus back in the '90s, but the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute only recently came across live specimens. Bush is taking the opportunity to study the creatures, gathering evidence that they're different enough from known species to be named as their own.
Meanwhile, one of the live creatures Bush is studying has laid eggs. They're still incubating, and there's no telling just when they'll hatch. Most octopus species have tragically short lives of just a couple years, but there's increasing evidence that deep-sea octopus -- who remain largely mysterious because of our lack of observation -- are the exception to that rule. One octopus was even observed to brood her eggs for over four years, indicating a shocking lifespan for her species.
So it's possible that Bush's specimens will live (relatively) long lives in their specially-designed, deep-sea-esque aquarium tanks, and if their lifespans are unusually long, so might the wait for their eggs to hatch. In the meantime, they'll keep swimming along with their flippy-floppy ear fins and waiting for their official naming.