Watch a Vampire Squid Turn Itself Inside Out
The vampire squid, Vampyroteuthis infernalis, is a cephalopod that is especially adapted to life in the deep sea. This “vampire squid from hell” is the last remaining member of the order Vampyromorphida. Adult vampire squids grow to a maximum length of 28 centimeters and live at depths of 600 to 900 meters.
The environment they call home is extreme; there’s little light, crushing pressure, and low levels of oxygen, not to mention all the predators that would love to gobble up a vampire squid as a snack.
Because they lack ink sacks, they’re not truly squids. So how do they avoid predation? One of its adaptations involves using photophores, which produce blue bioluminescent light. Their photophores are found at the end of each fin and distributed throughout their body. If threatened, a vampire squid can eject mucus containing photophores, which temporarily blinds any creature near it. This gives it the time it needs to escape.
In a new video released by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, a vampire squid can also be seen turning itself ‘sort of inside out’ to avoid predators. When it does this, it displays threatening-looking spines. Though the spines are actually harmless, it’s intimidating enough to scare creatures (and maybe even humans) away.