Bobtail Squid

My favorite creature of the week is the adorable Bobtail Squid.

From Wiki:
Bobtail squid (order Sepiolida) are a group of cephalopods closely related to cuttlefish. Bobtail squid tend to have a rounder mantle than cuttlefish and have no cuttlebone. They have eight suckered arms and two tentacles and are generally quite small (typical male mantle length being between 1 and 8 cm).

Sepiolids live in shallow coastal waters of the Pacific Ocean and some parts of the Indian Ocean as well as in shallow waters on the west coast of the Cape Peninsula off South Africa.

Like cuttlefish, they can swim by either using the fins on their mantle or by jet propulsion. They are also known as dumpling squid (owing to their rounded mantle) or stubby squid.

Why are they so bright, colorful and just plain awesome, you ask?

Bobtail squid have a symbiotic relationship with bioluminescent bacteria (Vibrio fischeri), which inhabit a special light organ in the squid’s mantle. The bacteria are fed a sugar and amino acid solution by the squid and in return hide the squid’s silhouette when viewed from below by matching the amount of light hitting the top of the mantle. The organ contains filters which may alter the wavelength of luminescence closer to that of downwelling moonlight and starlight; a lens with biochemical similarities to the squid’s eye to diffuse the bacterial luminescence; and a reflector which directs the light ventrally.

If you want to watch how these little guys dig in the sand, have an eyeful:

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14 Responses to “Bobtail Squid”

  1. How cute is that? And clever too. I love how they flail their arms about while burying themselves. Sorry to read that they’re not found in the North Atlantic :(

    • I’m a North Atlantic gal myself. It’s quite disappointing that one of these little fellows will never show up during a trip to the ocean for us!

  2. Oh my! I never knew such a cute little thing existed. It’s so adorable!

    • These little things and cuttlefish (and some octopi) drive me crazy with their incredible cuteness and color changing prowess. Amazing creatures!

  3. They are rather lovely little creatures! I almost want one to watch everyday!

    • Haha…leave it to my Soul Sister to say that. As I was posting this I told my father I wanted to get a tank with one of these in it at home. :-)

  4. That’s really cute! I want to watch them all day too.. instead of working, work is really not that cute.

  5. They’re utter darlings! “Dumpling Squid” is definitely my favourite name and those colours are amazing! I also had no idea they weren’t technically squid.

  6. cute little oddity !

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