A goggle-eyed purple squid spied by scientists from the oceanic research vessel E/V Nautilus takes tentacle grape to a new and lower level. While cruising off the coast of California with one of its ROVs scanning the ocean floor, an outrageously purple squid of the species Rossia pacifica came into view. Looking like an octopus but actually a close relative to cuttlefish, this species of squid is usually found on the sea floor at depths of around 900 meters or 2,950 feet.
Unlike most squids, Rossia pacifica is an ambush predator – it burrows into the sediment with only its eyes poking out, then grabs passing fish or shrimp with its eight sucker-lined tentacles. The E/V Nautilus's ROV fortuitously recorded this particular specimen before it could camouflage itself beneath the mud.
“One of the amazing things about the type of ocean exploration that we do with the E/V Nautilus is the discovery of the unexpected,” states E/V Nautilus spokesperson Susan Poulton. “So little of the ocean has been explored that we make a new discovery on almost every dive. It not only advances our collective knowledge of the biology and the geology of the ocean, but these finds are a delight to the team on board and the broader audience who tune in to explore along with us.”
The 64-meter (210-ft) long E/V Nautilus is operated by the Ocean Exploration Trust under the direction of Dr. Robert Ballard, known for finding the wrecks of both the RMS Titanic and the WWII German battleship Bismarck. (images and info via E/V Nautilus and WENN)