Pink octopus so cute it may be named ‘adorabilis’

Photo credit: Monterey Bay Aquarium

Photo credit: Monterey Bay Aquarium

Researchers at Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute in California are looking for a name for a new species of octopus that is currently known as the flapjack octopus. Whilst little is known about the species, the mysterious cephalopod has been deemed so cute scientists are considering naming it Opisthoteuthis adorabilis.

Asides from its appearance, scientists know the octopus lives in the deep sea at depths of up to 450metres. They spend the majority of their time at the bottom of the seafloor sitting upon the sediment, but they do swim by using a well developed web between their tentacles that make it appear as if they are parachuting through the water. Additionally, they also use their tiny fins on top of their head to steer and change direction.

The unnamed octopus has a gelatinous pink coloured body, which is 18cm in diameter, eight webbed arms and huge eyes. This pink colouration actually acts as camouflage. Since red light does not reach ocean depths, this deep sea species appears black, which makes them less visible to predators and prey.

Until recently scientists thought the nameless animal was Opisthoteuthis califoriana. While it is in the same genus as the flapjack octopus O. califoriana, which includes octopus species notorious for their compressed shape and webbed limbs, it is actually an entirely distinct species.

To date, only twelve individuals have been studied and all have been female despite researchers first collecting this unidentified octopus back in the early 1990s. Identifying a species is an elongated and painstaking process that can take years so until the name is decided the Monterey Bay Aquarium will be referring to the species as the flapjack octopus.

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Lucy Grable

Lucy Grable

MSc Species Identification and Survey Skills student at Reading Uni | BSc Marine Zoology | Website Editor MARINElife | Zanzibar humpback whale researcher|Marine wildlife enthusiast

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