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The Vampire Squid From Hell Turns Out To Be A Bit Of A Letdown

By / 09.26.12

Vampyroteuthis infernalis quite literally translates to “Vampire squid from hell” in Latin. That’s because it’s that terrifying mofo at right. This thing looks like it will engulf your head, suck out your brains, and then drag your corpse to its lair for puppet shows set to death metal.

And we’re OK with that, since it lives in the ocean depths far, far away from the rest of us. Like all eldritch horrors, it’s the last of its kind, as it’s the only member of its order, so if we need to explore a wreck while tense music plays and our hard-shelled diving suit bubbles, at least we know we can pick them off and there won’t be a sequel.

One thing scientists were wondering, though, was how something so bad-ass could live where there’s basically no prey, since it’s only found in low-oxygen environments.

The answer pretty much erases its horrifying image: Turns out it survives by eating… well… by eating turds. But scientifically, believe it or not, turd-eating in a squid is actually pretty interesting.

Essentially vampyroteuthis infernalis is a scavenger. It’ll eat anything that drifts close, which is mostly cast off chunks and corpses of other sea life and their turds. It extends filaments that collect this, mix it with mucus, and then eats it.

So we lied, it eats boogers. That are made of turds. So, why do scientists find this disgusting thing so fascinating?

Because it is, literally, the only squid that doesn’t hunt. Every other documented species of squid and octopus hunts by essentially strangling its prey, but the vampire squid is absolutely unique and furthermore lets it survive in environments that few other predators can handle. The passive method of food collecting means it doesn’t burn nearly as much energy and oxygen, so it can live in far more hostile environments.

Also we think the diet of turd boogers might have something to do with it.


TAGSbiologygrossscienceSQUID

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