Garbage dinners and stale water make life tough in the deep sea
© 2004 MBARI
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.