A rare sight in the region because it normally lives in tropical and subtropical waters, the female argonaut octopus, commonly called a paper nautilus, is recuperating at the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium in San Pedro, the Los Angles Times reported Thursday.
Argonauts float near the ocean surface, unlike their relatives that inhabit deeper water, and feed on small crustaceans and mollusks they capture with their eight sucker-covered tentacles.
Unusually warm fall weather and ocean currents brought the creature to Southern California waters, researchers said.
"This was an example of an animal that was brought to us by a warm current that peeled off and was brought very close to shore," aquarium director Mike Schaadt said.
Little is known about the species, he said.
"Any time we get an animal that we can learn more about -- especially an octopus, which I think most people are just drawn to -- that's a great opportunity," Schaadt said.