Cutest tiny octopus may be formally named ‘adorabilis’ by scientists

Opisthoteuthis adorabilis
Video screen capture YouTube

The yet unnamed cephalopod cutie-pie is in need of a moniker.

Of the many joys of being a scientist, discovering a new species must rank right up there near the top; and for the lucky ones who get to classify them, bestowing a name must be rewarding beyond measure. Such an honor, but such a responsibility too.

Such is the task set before Stephanie Bush, a researcher at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, who has been working to classify a deep-sea cephalopod from the genus Opisthoteuthis, which up to now has gone unnamed.

Before a new species can be named, it needs to be thoroughly studied to determine how it is unique from other species that may be closely related. The description and classification – and name – are then published as papers in scientific journals. Opisthoteuthis is also being studied closely for a better understanding of how the creature “works” and how it plays a part in the bigger deep-sea ecosystem.

But back to the name; where does one even begin? For Bush, it might be easy.

YouTube/Video screen captureShe describes the wee cutie as really gelatinous and fragile, and with huge eyes. With its upper fins reminiscent of giant ears, it looks like something straight out of a Hayao Miyazaki animation.

“One of the thoughts I had was making it Opisthoteuthis adorabilis," says Bush, "because they’re really cute.” And really, what else could one possibly name this adorable creature?

Watch Opisthoteuthis in action in the video below.