When researchers aboard the E/V Nautilus ran into a dumbo octopus while they were surveying an unexplored area of Davidson Seamount, an inactive volcano off the coast of California, they were very excited.
Going by the scientific name of a Grimpoteuthis, the dumbo octopus is so-named because its lateral fins look like giant ears. Pair that with a set of comically large googly eyes, and the dumbo octopus is one of nature’s cutest cephalopods.
It’s also one of nature’s rarest—part of the reason those scientists get so excited is because of the rarity of the encounter. Little is known about the little cephalopod, but even quick sightings like this one can teach us a lot about how they live. “It’s very exciting to see one live,” says Chad King, Nautilus’ chief scientist. “It’s something you don’t come across every day.”