Wednesday, March 23, 2016


There are a lot of scary things in this world, and I have to admit that vampires are one scary thing that has become so commonplace that they make me yawn. However, I recently came across a vampire that is literally one of a kind and a bit scary. What's more— it’s real. This week we are diving 1500 to 10,000 feet below sea level.

Let’s meet and learn a bit about the Vampire Squid!

Photo credit: National Geographic MBARI

As you can see from the above picture, the Vampire Squid is unusual looking. Depending on available light, it can appear, red or purple, but it’s naturally black in color. William Beebe (1926) described the Vampire Squid as ‘a very small but terrible octopus, black as night with ivory white jaws and blood red eyes’.

This cephalopod was named Vampire Squid because the black webs between its arms give it a cape-like appearance, and the critter has red eyes. They have the largest eyes in the animal kingdom in comparison to their size, which averages twelve inches in length.

Unlike the vampires of film and novels, this cephalopod (an active predatory mollusk such as an octopus or squid) is truly one of a kind. Placed in the order Vampyromorpha, it is a cross between a squid and an octopus and is thus believed to be a link in time to where the two evolved separately.

Photo credit: SciFriday - YouTube

The difference between the Vampire Squid and other cephalopods is further established once you consider that only the Vampire Squid can tolerate oxygen-deprived waters. It does so by having a system that is extremely efficient at removing oxygen from its surroundings. Most cephalopods are unable to withstand oxygen levels below about 50% of air saturation and only a few, such as the Nautilus, can tolerate oxygen as low as 20% (Seibel et al., 1999; Wells and Wells, 1995).

Another clear difference is seen in their eight ‘arms.’ The Vampire Squid is reminiscent of the octopus, but there is webbing between the arms. Where the octopus has suckers on its arms, the Vampire Squid has spines. When they are threatened, they will invert themselves and expose those spines.

Photo credit: Wikipedia

The Vampire Squid does not move in the same way that a squid or octopus does. Instead it has fins on its mantle that help propel it through the ocean. They are also different from other chepholopods in that the have the ability to reproduce multiple times, unlike the squid and the octopus who typically mates once and then dies.

I’ve found a very good video that will give you a closer look at the Vampire Squid. You have to take a minute to watch it. It’s fascinating and offers more information for you.

For more information about the Vampire Squid, you can visit the following sites:

Thank you so much for stopping by. I do hope you enjoyed this week's post and will return next week for a look at another unusual creature. Enjoy! 

Jeanne E. Rogers, Award Winning Author
The Sword of Demelza and The Gift of Sunderland
Middle-Grade Fantasy Where Endangered Animal Heroes Roam the Pages!

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