Last week, the deep-sea exploration team aboard the E/V Nautilus brought the world’s cutest squid to our attention. What have they found now?

Last week, the deep-sea exploration team aboard the E/V Nautilus brought the world’s cutest squid to our attention. What have they found now?

“What is that?”

“I’m stumped,” replies a researcher. “I have no idea. I can’t even hazard a guess.”

During exploration of the 5,000-foot-deep Arguello Canyon in the ocean off the coast of Southern California, researchers controlling the E/V Nautilus stumbled upon a tiny, purple orb.

As you can see, next to a crab on a ledge is a tiny purple globe. After carefully collecting it with the Nautilus and bringing it to the surface, ship researchers found that the globe had a foot and rhinophores, kind of ear-like structures, and a sort of proboscis. This points to it being some form of gastropod.

The researchers currently think the 2-inch (5 cm) organism is a pleurobranch, a relative of the scuba-divers’ favorite, the nudibranch. Researchers are still working toward a definite species identification with partner the Harvard Museum of Comparative Zoology.

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