Like most things about Finding Nemo, Pixar’s massive 2003 hit depicting the brutal disappearance of a child and his father’s near-manic-inducing efforts to locate him (in retrospect, sort of a forerunner to Prisoners), Pearl the flapjack octopus is adorable. Mercilessly, brutally adorable, in the way that only wide-eyed CGI creations engineered for maximum plush doll sales can be. Many a child probably cried themselves to sleep at night, knowing they would never gaze upon such a creature in real life, where Mother Nature’s tendency to make even the most physically endearing of her children occasionally resemble smelly bath mats seemingly guaranteed no undersea denizen would approach such snuggly perfection. Until now.
The Exploration Vessel Nautilus, a 64-meter research vessel run by the Ocean Exploration Trust, was performing a deep-sea investigation off the coast of California when it came across this lil’ guy. Using its remotely operated vehicle, the team managed to get a close-up look at what was later determined to be a Stubby squid, which is already a freaking lovable name, but we’re going to go ahead and shorten to “Stubby,” because come on. Stubby’s cute-as-hell googly eyes elicit as much delight from the team as you’d imagine, which is why we’re going to ignore facts like the species’ tendency to activate a “sticky mucus jacket” when burrowing into sediment while awaiting prey like shrimp and small fish.
According to KTLA, which reported the discovery, these endearing bastards live in the Northern Pacific between Japan and Southern California, though they normally live much closer to the surface, around 300 meters. Our little Stubby was found 900 meters deep. We’re so proud of our overachiever. No word yet, though, on whether Stubby also has Pearl’s habit of squirting ink at the slightest provocation.