The ocean is vast, and the creatures that inhabit it are sometimes difficult to spot. So when scientists get a view of them, they're understandably delighted, like these members of the E/V Nautilus team when they spotted a member of the rare Grimpoteuthis genus.
"Oh my, it's so cute," one of the team members enthuses.
"I love me a good cephalopod," another says.
Known as dumbo octopuses, members of this genus stand out for their resemblance to the Disney elephant. They "fly" though the ocean by flapping their two ear-like fins near the top of their bodies. As this video shows, however, this isn't their only method of travel. Their eight tentacles, connected by a web of skin that's similar to an umbrella, can give them a burst of speed when contracted. Zoom! Off they go!
It's a rare sight to be sure as dumbo octopuses spend much of their time very close to the ocean floor, at depths of 9,800 to 13,000 feet (3,000 to 4,000 meters). This one, spotted floating around Davidson Seamount in Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, was discovered 10,560 feet deep.
The scientists aren't just on the prowl for rare marine life. The Davidson Seamount, an inactive undersea volcano located about 80 miles off the coast of Monterey, California, is completely unexplored and potentially teeming with life, including coral and sponges.
As of this week, scientists can confirm at least one adorable resident.