On Wednesday, the California Academy of Sciences put on publc display for the first time a little-known encephalopod (thanks, Laura!) called the "Larger Pacific Striped Octopus." This little lady has been barely studied at all -- it doesn't even have a scientific name!
One of the Academy's biologists, Rich Ross, specializes in octopi, personally raising and cultivating them. He has spent more than a year studying this rare species, which finally can be shown to the public.
What's so special about this marine animal? Apparently most octopi live solitary existences because the females tend to eat the males after mating. Not so the Larger Pacific Striped Octopus. When they hook up, they connect beak-to-beak or sucker-to-sucker in an intimate embrace -- that doesn't result in the male becoming dinner. Which is why they are also called the "Kissing Octopus."
This female specimin will be swimming solo for some time, while the aquarium biologists study her and her brethren. But the Academy hopes to add a male to the tank soon. So hang in there, single lady!
The Larger Pacific Striped Octopus (along with many other fascinating animals) can be seen in the "Animal Attraction" exhibit in the Cal Academy's Steinhart aquarium.