Happy Halloween, ocean lovers! Today’s featured marine animal is one of the spookiest in the sea: the vampire squid.
This deep-sea cephalopod’s nickname comes from its dark color and red eyes. Although it’s only the size of a football, the vampire squid is a deadly predator – it catches food by drifting until it senses prey nearby.
Like many other deep-sea creatures, vampire squid can produce light, called bioluminescence, to avoid predators. They use a technique called “arm-writhing” to disorient predators, which have trouble following all the lights on their arms.
If a vampire squid is threatened, it can curl its webbed arms around its head to protect its most vulnerable parts and reveal the darker parts of its body. And here’s the kicker -- if the vampire squid does decide to flee, it can release a cloud of mucus that can glow for almost 10 minutes. Then, it uses a twisted escape route to confuse the predator even further.
The vampire squid has proportionally the largest eyes of any species—a six-inch squid’s eye is about an inch in diameter – the better to see you with, my dear. (Its relative, the giant squid, is the animal with the largest eyes of all, about the size of basketballs.)
Learn more about the vampire squid and other fascinating (and freaky) ocean animals at Oceana’s marine encyclopedia.
What ocean animal do you think is the spookiest? Tell us in the comments!