Some days it seems marine biologists have all the fun.
Take this crew working at Hawaii’s Kaloko-Honok?hau National Historical Park (KAH-loh-koh Hoh-noh-KOH-how), for example. It was just another day at the office (you know, the kind with blue skies and open ocean) when researchers discovered the teeniest, most adorable set of octopus you ever did see.
I mean, our office does have puppies, but still.
According to a Facebook post, during an August 3 surface break, a team of park marine biologists “noticed something small” after picking up several items of floating plastic debris. Lo and behold, this “beautiful little octopus was found among the debris.” The park's marine ecologist Sallie Beavers told The Associated Press that the octopuses were the size of green peas and one of them even squirted a tiny bit of ink. (Sidebar: the plural of octopus is, in fact, octopuses. Indicating plurality by using an "i" is a Latin practice, while "octo" is Greek. Octopodes is also correct.)
"Two octopus species here in Hawaii (the "round spot" and "crescent-spot") only grow to the size of a golf ball and weigh a max of 3 ounces, while the octopus ornatus (most common octopus found in Hawaii) grows to about 2 feet long," explained the Department of the Interior in a follow-up post. Babies will often hide under floating debris until they're a few months old to hide from potential predators.
Yes, the plastic-dwelling octopuses make a perfect case-in-point argument for eliminating our reliance on plastic and other unsustainable products to protect marine species (read this, this, this, and this), particularly the insanely intelligent eight-limbed invertebrates. All octopus species live in the ocean, most commonly along coral reefs where they can create dens to live in undetected. A bit of an opportunistic nomad, octopuses move to a new home every 10 to 14 days and often take advantage of whatever debris they might come across, everything from beer bottles to flip-flops and even discarded coconut shells.
Half of the park at Kaloko-Honokohau is underwater, its clear waters providing for a breadth of biodiverse coral reefs that provide a home to different fishes, marine algae, and invertebrates.
Another image in the comments shows one of the little squirts attacking an equally adorable baby crab.
"Photo of another baby octopus taken by the dive team (again found on plastic debris) attacking and killing a baby crab. Maybe they aren't so cute?" wrote the park in a Facebook post.
Naw, still cute.