For some people who never heard about its name, they may think of another quirky ghost at the Halloween party. Well, Vampire squid is indeed quirky, but not as frightening as the real vampire at the Halloween party. In fact, the vampire squid is not part of the Halloween ghost which will scare you. Instead, it is a unique and mysterious sea creature, which lives in the very deep ocean. As part of a cephalopod, its size is relatively small. Moreover, it has 2 long retractile filaments that are located between the first two pairs of arms on its dorsal side.
Furthermore, this lovely animal appears harmless although it has a scary name. Its big eyes make it look like an innocent and lost child. However, there are many interesting facts about vampire squid that will make you admire this humble animal. Thus, we have compiled the best facts about vampire squid to broaden your knowledge. Let’s get started!
1. The Name Comes from The Skin Color
If you think that the name comes from the fact that it sucks blood like the real vampire, you are wrong. This first fact about vampire squid will clarify that fact. He receives his common name from the dark hue of his skin and the cape-like skin that links his arms. Not to mention, the red eyes resemble the scary vampire well.
Furthermore, vampire squid is a one-of-a-kind creature that scientists have divided into its own category. The vampire squid, like many of its relatives, has eight arms and two tentacles..
2. The Pineapple Posture to Defense
The vampire squid inverts its cloak when disturbed, revealing enormous spines on the underside of its arms. This is also known as the “pumpkin” or “pineapple” pose. It not only adds more cushion, but it also shows off the spiky undersides of the vampire squid’s tentacles.
This species appears to be rather dangerous when it adopts this posture, however it is actually quite harmless. When confronted by a predator, the vampire squid can invert its body and protect its vulnerable neck and head with its caped tentacles.
3. It Doesn’t Have Teeth
Vampire Squid is not a predatory species. Because it is a part of vampyropods, it lacks bones and teeth since they do not fossilize effectively. Therefore, it eats food particles trapped by sticky cells on its long, filamentous tentacles instead. Furthermore, it feeds on plant and animal detritus that settles to the bottom of the sea.
In fact, the only known extant mollusk that does not catch and eat live animals for food is the vampire squid. They feed on “marine snow,” which is debris made up of fragments of dead planktonic organisms and fecal pellets.
4. It Produces Bioluminescent Instead of Black Ink
Vampire squids, unlike shallow-water squids and octopuses, do not release black ink to avoid predators. Moreover, black or dark purple ink would be useless in the mesopelagic zone’s darkness. Instead, the vampire squid exhales a colorless liquid containing many bioluminescent particles. Therefore, potential predators are confused by the glittering lights. Thus, this fact is actually one of the most interesting facts about vampire squid.
In addition, photophores, which produce light, cover almost the whole body of the vampire squid. Hence, the light produced by vampire squid attracts prey and distracts predators.
5. Vampire Squid Communicates Through Lights
Vampire squids create light at the tips of each of their arms in addition to the light produced during their defense response. This light could be used to communicate with others. They can give signs to each other, including for reproduction. In fact, male-female contacts are unlikely to occur frequently because this species is naturally scarce. As a result, it is critical that they reproduce when given the opportunity. Usually, females have been observed storing male sperm for extended periods of time before using it to fertilize their eggs.
6. It has The Largest Eyes in The Animal Kingdom
Vampire squids have the world’s largest eyes in proportion to their body size. Its eyes appear to be red or blue in color depending on the light. Moreover, it has the largest proportionally sized eyes in the animal kingdom, measuring 2.5 cm or 1 inch in diameter, according to the World Guinness Record.
The big eyes and optic lobes of the vampire squid may represent an adaptation to boost sensitivity for long-range detection of bioluminescence. Not to mention, it also used to monitor a large water volume with low density of prey and mates.
7. Vampire Squid Can Last Up To Eight Years
Vampire squid may live several years longer than coastal squid and octopuses. According to a recent study, they could live for eight years or more. The figure is based on the large number of eggs discovered in dead female specimens. Some of them had up to 10,000 egg cells accessible for spawning. Based on gestation durations and the average number of eggs per clutch, eight years appears to be more likely than one.
These sea creatures reach sexual maturity for reproduction at about two years of age. These sea critters achieve sexual maturity for reproduction around the age of two and continue to reproduce until they die. A vampire squid’s life span is usually quite long. The complete lifespan of squids is unclear, however the adult life stage can last up to eight years.
8. Young Vampire Squid Moves with Water Jet
The vampire squid is a tiny mollusk that lives in extreme deep water environments throughout temperate and tropical oceans. Young vampire squids move by squeezing a big amount of water out of a siphon, an organ located inside the mantle. Jet propulsion is the term for this form of movement.
Furthermore, the size, form, and position of the fins change as the squid grows, which is a fascinating phenomena. A second pair of fins begins to form in front of their initial set when their mantles are 15-25 mm long. The original pair is reabsorbed after the new pair reaches maturity. The vampire squid’s swimming method shifts from jet propulsion to fin propulsion with the new fins.
9. Female Doesn’t Die After Hatching, Baby Can Survive Without Eating
Female squid, octopuses, and cuttlefish all have explosive deaths. Usually, these soft-bodied cephalopods perish after a single, end-of-life reproductive blaze of glory. Unlike their cousins who die after laying eggs, female vampire squids can lay several clutches over time. It can breed up to 20 times after laying their eggs or equal to 6,000 to 20,000 hatchlings throughout their lifetime.
What makes it more interesting, baby vampire squid also will survive without eating. Because they are born with internal reserves of energy, young vampire squids do not need to eat for the first few weeks of their lives. Before they reach adulthood, young animals also go through various morphological changes.
10. It was Discovered During Valdivia Expedition
The vampire squid was discovered by Carl Chun’s Valdivia Expedition in 1898 until 1899. The Challenger Expedition inspired Chun, who was a zoologist. He wanted to make sure that life does exist below 300 fathoms, or about 550 meters. Chun first saw and described the “Vampire Squid,” or Vampyroteuthis infernalis, which means “vampire squid from hell,” on this voyage.
The expedition’s major objectives were to collect as many biological samples as possible and to focus on organisms’ adaptation to harsh environmental conditions. Many anatomical investigations of light organs developed as a result of this.
11. The Biggest Vampire Squid
As the tiny creature among other squid, maybe you wonder how big the vampire squid can be? The vampire squid can grow up to 30 cm in total length or equal to 1 ft. The color of its 15-centimeter or 5.9 inch gelatinous body varies. It depends on location and lighting conditions, from velvety jet-black to pale reddish. Not to mention, the vampire squid is a tiny mollusk that lives in deep temperate and tropical seas and grows to be 12 inches long.
12. They Live in The Minimum Oxygen Zone
Another interesting fact about vampire squid is the oxygen minimum zone (OMZ) or shadow zone is where vampire squid reside in the ocean. Only a few species can survive there, but vampire squid have evolved to withstand conditions that would kill most other sea creatures.
In fact, vampire squids live in depths of 2,000–3,000 feet, which are so far below sea level that there is no light. Furthermore, the vampire squid thrives in areas of the ocean with low oxygen concentrations thanks to its bioluminescent organs and unique oxygen metabolism.
13. They Only Have One Species In This World
In reality, unlike other squid and octopus species, these squid float peacefully in their deep, dark, oxygen-depleted home, waiting for food to come to them. Moreover, there is only one species for this animal. There used to be others but scientists just have found fossils of several different Vampyromorphida species.
The only known members of the Order Vampyromorphida, the seventh order in the Class Cephalopoda, are vampire squid, Vampyroteuthis infernalis. It translates to “vampire squid from Hell.” They blend traits from both octopodiformes or octopuses and decapodiformes or decapods such as squid, cuttlefishes, and more.
14. It Survived More Than 300 Million Years
On March 22, scientists described an authentic 328 million-year-old fossil organism. It has ten rather than eight arms. It’s also the earliest known relative of vampire squids and modern octopuses, according to researchers.
The IUCN has not formally assessed the vampire squid, however it is not extinct and is unlikely to be endangered. After all, it’s been more than 300 million years! Furthermore, deepwater fish, whales, and sea lions are among the vampire squid’s known predators. Meanwhile, vampire squid eat trash, dead organic matter, and the bodies of other creatures.
15. The Babies are Transparent
Vampire squid produces eggs that hatch into babies. They have the same overall shape as their parents, but their bodies are translucent and they are only around eight millimeters long. They also lack webbing between their tentacles and haven’t fully developed filaments. Both of these things will occur in due course.
Furthermore, the grown up vampire squid has a squid-like appearance and an octopus-like appearance. It has a jelly-like body that glides through the water with the help of eight tentacles that culminate in feeding filaments.