Vampire squid take mommy breaks | Science News

ADVERTISEMENT

MISSION CRITICAL

Support credible science journalism.

Subscribe to Science News today.


It's Alive

Vampire squid take mommy breaks

Garbage dinners and stale water make life tough in the deep sea

By
7:00am, May 19, 2015
Vampire squid of hell

DEFYING PERCEPTION  Sensationalism strikes Latin names too. Vampyroteuthis infernalis, “vampire squid of hell,” is neither a vampire nor a normal squid.

View the video

Vampire squid live slow. Even their gonads, it turns out, take vacations.

Any information about their reproduction is prized, because no one has seen the deep-sea dwellers even swim close enough to each other to flirt. Studies of fished-up specimens offer clues. But they can’t solve puzzles such as how sperm gets into female storage pouches, one beside each of her large blue eyes.

What little is known about the biology of Vampyroteuthis infernalis suggests a low-speed life scrimping along on modest-at-best resources, says Henk-Jan Hoving with GEOMAR Helmholtz Center for Ocean Research in Kiel, Germany. The species frequents oxygen-starved zones in temperate and tropical waters and has the most sluggish metabolism yet measured among cephalopods. Also, the so-called vampires don’t drink blood. Often they dumpster dive, gleaning and swallowing wads of sinking fecal pellets and other debris.

This article is available only to subscribing members. Join the Society today or Log in.

Get Science News headlines by e-mail.

More from this issue of Science News

From the Nature Index Paid Content