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BioAlert --Scientists Unlock Secrets of the Vampire Squid




Biologists reported this week that they had unlocked secrets about the vampire squid, a mysterious creature known as a "phylogenetic relic," that combines features of octopuses and squids in a unique evolutionary formula that has survived for millions of years.

Vampyroteuthis infernalis—the "Squid from Hell"—it is the only species in the Order Vampyromorpha, where it was placed in 1903. The 13-centimetre (five-inch) cephalopod lives in temperate and tropical oceans, inhabiting waters at depths between roughly 600 and 900 metres (2,000-3,000 feet), a niche habitat where at the lowest levels there is just enough oxygen to support life. It uses huge 2.5-centimetre (one-inch) eyes to detect the slightest gleam of movement, and deploys dark-blue bioluminescence to cloak its jelly-like body from predators below when it drifts at higher depths.

A team of scientists in California report in  in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B on 30 years of chance encounters with vampire squids by robot submarine explorers, laborary experiments and dissections. Unlike its latter-day cousins, the vampire squad does not tuck into living prey, they say. Instead, examination of the squid's digestive tract, faeces and regurgitations suggest it is a "detritivore"—it tucks into the corpses (or what remains of them) of larvae, crustaceans and zooplankton that sink gently to the ocean floor.

The most amazing feature is the vampire squid's mouth, which opens up like a black umbrella, comprising a web that encompasses eight octopus-like arms, studded with suckers and finger-like spines called cirri. It also has a second pair of arms called retractile filaments that can reach out to lengths that are far bigger than that of the squid itself, and can then be withdrawn into pockets within the web.

These sticky filaments, Unique to the vampire squid, were long thought to be sensors to detect living prey and predators.The evidence suggests that they are used to reach out and snare morsels of food, say Hendrik Joving and Bruce Robison at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute. The scraps are then glued together into a little ball using mucus from secretory tissue in the suckers, and then transported to the squid's jaws by the cirri.

According to the study, "Vampyroteuthis' feeding behavior is unlike any other cephalopod, revealing a unique adaptation that allows these animals to spend most of their life at depths where oxygen concentrations are very low, but where predators are few and typical cephalopod food is scarce.



The Daily Galaxy via Proceedings of the Royal Society B and AFP


I wonder if this 1/2 mile zone is where our 'reset' forms are retained? Below the no-ox zone that keeps the dna from being corrupted?

That's an interesting idea. Deep sea life is clearly more sustainable, regardless of terrestrial mega-disasters like lack no oxygen, asteroids, heat, mega-floods etc. Why though then are the creatures of the deep not 'substantially' more evolved, if we high-order primates may have gone through terrestrial 'resets' in evolutionary biology on land? Maybe these things are actually super-smart and communicate telepathically? Someone should ask one of them what the score in the Ravens game will be this Thursday night... :)

Wouldn't a super evolved creature do just that, act stupid and primitive?

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