Behind the scenes

Finding Opisthoteuthis


Stephanie Bush watches from the ROV control room during collection of the flapjack octopus. Image: © 2015 MBARI Bottom: A flapjack octopus in Monterey Canyon.

July 13, 2015

Last Thursday, MBARI Postdoctoral Fellow Stephanie Bush and her team from the Monterey Bay Aquarium went to sea aboard the R/V Rachel Carson in Monterey Bay. They were on a mission to collect octopuses in the genus Opisthoteuthis to be used for species description and display at the Aquarium. These small flapjack octopuses (about eight centimeters or just over three inches across) eluded capture last month, but this time the team was successful. Using the remotely operated vehicle (ROV) Ventana, the researchers located and collected five individuals.

Stephanie is currently in the process of describing and naming this new species. The animal has large eyes and flapping ear-like fins that add to its adorable appearance, opening up many possibilities for the new name. Watch videos about this unusual animal by Science Friday, the Monterey Bay Aquarium, and a KSBW-TV news broadcast.