Vampire Squid of Hell
The vampire squid, or vampiric squid, is a creature which takes it's name from the latin 'vampyroteuthis infernalis' which literally translates to vampire squid of Hell.
Vampiric squid are often found in tropical oceans and although the creature was originally classified as a type of octopus in 1903 by Carl Chun, the vampiric squid was later assigned to a new order, along with various extinct taxa.
Vampire squid are generally found in the deeper depths of tropical oceans, usually between 2,000-3,000-ft below the surface which is fascinating because at this level, the OMZ (Oxygen Minimum Zone), there is not enough oxygen saturation for aerobic metabolism in higher organisms.
However, rather impressively the vampiric squid is one of the only creatures that is able to continue breathing normally in this zone at oxygen saturation levels as low as 3% and it can survive just fine.
Vampire squid consist of a gelatinous body which can actually appear to vary in colour due to various lighting and atmospheric conditions. Sometimes the vampire squid can appear to be jet black whilst at other times it can appear to have a strong reddish hue.
Vampiric squid can reach lengths of approximately 1-ft (30cm) with the creature's body making up around 50% of it's length.
The vampire squid has eight arms, or tentacles, each of which is interconnected by webbing and lined with rows of spines. Vampiric squid can have extremely large eyes in proportion to their body, sometimes as large as 1-inch. Under varying lighting conditions,a vampire squid's eyes can appear to be either red or blue.
Rather fascinatingly, the vampiric squid is covered with photophores - organs that produce light. These 'light organs' allow the squid to give out disorienting flashes of light which can be used as a defense mechanism to ward off predators.
These fantastic flashes can be as short as a fraction of a second in duration or can last for up to several minutes. Vampiric squid are able to control the intensity and size of the flashes of light they emit.
Even more fascinatingly, the vampire squid has a pair of photoreceptors on top of it's head which it is believed could be used to detect any movement coming from above.
In addition, the squid uses counterillumination by generating it's own bluish light which cloaks the creature's presence from other creatures below - in other words, whilst the vampiric squid can detect threats from above with it's eyes, it cannot detect them from below if it is looking up and therefore uses bioluminescence to camouflage itself from any predators that may be located below.
The vampiric squid's ink resources are limited and therefore, if attacked, the squid will usually create a cloud of bioluminescent mucus consisting of countless orbs of blue light from the tips of it's tentacles/arms.
The tentacles of a vampiric squid are therefore very different to that of an octopus, they do not suck. Instead, they excrete mucus and the squid also uses this method in order to package their food ready for consumption.
© 2012 Marc Hubs
Marc Hubs (author) from United Kingdom on October 20, 2012:
Thanks for the great comments.
Mike Pugh from New York City on October 20, 2012:
Wow this was an awesome hub and its filled with factual information all about the biological aspects of these cruel predator Vampire Squids defense mechanisms & predatory weaponry, nice job on this one, you definitely did some fine tuned detailed research.
Thumbs up and getting shared bro, Bravo!
Ms. Immortal from NJ on October 20, 2012:
Fascinating, thanks. I used to love going to the aquarium when my boys were younger the squid was one of the most interesting for us. We were told that they are the most intellegent of invertebrates. Maze and problem-solving experiments show that they have both short- and long-term memory. Voted up.
Teresa Coppens from Ontario, Canada on October 20, 2012:
Very interesting creature. More oddities are being discovered as our ability to explore the ocean depths improves. I enjoyed very much reading about this very cool creature.
Sheila Brown from Southern Oklahoma on October 20, 2012:
Very interesting! It is amazing what creature live in the depths of the sea. Voting up and interesting! :)
James Kenny from Birmingham, England on October 20, 2012:
A fascinating creature, with a cool name. There's something magically odd about squid, they're not like anything else alive today. Thanks for sharing.
Pamela Lipscomb from Charlotte, North Carolina on October 19, 2012:
Say the title, had to read. Very interesting hub! Voted up!
Nell Rose from England on October 19, 2012:
What a beautiful creature in a strange sort of way! fascinating how it lights up like that, great info, and I learned something new! lol! voted up and hub shared, nell
Marc Hubs (author) from United Kingdom on October 03, 2012:
My pleasure Gail. A fantastic creature indeed, it fascinates me how so intricately designed/evolved some of the creatures under the sea are. We actually know more about what's in space than we do about what's under the oceans.
Gail Meyers from Johnson County, Kansas on October 03, 2012:
I love to read about different animals, but I have never heard of these before. Thanks for writing about this interesting and unique creature.
Sp Greaney from Ireland on October 02, 2012:
Freaky or what. Never heard of these before. Interesting topic.
Marc Hubs (author) from United Kingdom on October 01, 2012:
Thanks CJ, I'm sure my kids will love this too, I haven't shown them yet.
Corrinna from BC, Canada on October 01, 2012:
Such a unique and interesting sea creature...fantastic tidbit of info to share with my kids.