ABOVE: A vampire squid (Vampyroteuthis infernalis) spotted at a depth of 820 meters in the Monterey Bay was collected for study by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute.
MBARI (2019)

Last month, the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute’s Bioinspiration Lab coordinated an expedition in the Monterey Bay to study animals in the ocean’s midwater, also known as the twilight zone. One such specimen MBARI scientists spotted was the vampire squid (Vampyroteuthis infernalis).

Animals that live in the twilight zone have specialized adaptations for survival deep below the surface of the water. The twilight zone is a dark, cold environment with scarce food. The vampire squid doesn’t suck blood; instead, it eats detritus that falls into the twilight zone from shallow waters, and it is the only cephalopod known to do so.

Located within the twilight zone is an area of extremely low oxygen called the...

The squid in the video above was collected for further study. Others collected by MBARI have made their way to the public—in 2014, MBARI and the Monterey Bay Aquarium put a vampire squid on display for the first time. 

Emily Makowski is an intern at The Scientist. Email her at emakowski@the-scientist.com.

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