08 January 2009

The cutest cephalopod: always smiling

The Piglet squid just has to make your day! Especially with a permanently etched smiley under those adorably googly eyes and untidy tangle of leeeetle arms.
from The Telegraph (full article below).

A deep sea squid, we're not likely to come across this cutey on our intertidal trips. But here's more photos of the huggable ceph from my little trawl through the internet.

From the Tree of Life website article by Richard E. Young and Katharina M. Mangold (1922-2003)

Piglet squid is always smiling
An unusual pattern of skin pigmentation means that this piglet squid always has a smile on his face
The Telegraph 7 Jan 09;
The animal, named because of its tuft of bristle-like arms and tentacles and rotund shape, is normally found more than 320 feet (100m) below the surface of the ocean.

Because of its deep water habit, little is known of the behaviour of the squid, although not surprisingly, judging by its body shape, it is known to be a sluggish swimmer.

The squids' bodies are almost completely clear except for some pigment-containing cells, or chromatophores, which give this specimen its distinctive appearance.

Properly called Helicocranchia pfefferi, the animals are also noted for the light producing organs known as photophores located beneath each of their large eyes.

This specimen, about the size of an orange, was collected by the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium where director Mike Schaat managed to capture it on film.

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