Squid attack!



If anyone is interested in writing a Lovecraftian horror novel and getting all the details just right, I recommend this paper by Kier and Leeuwen. They used a high-speed camera to capture exactly how a squid, Loligo pealei, strikes and seizes its prey. Isn’t it beautiful?

In the first frame, you can see the animal poised with its arms and tentacles pointed like an explode at the target, a shrimp. Then, as the squid slides forward, the two tentacles race forward with impressive speed (these frames are 10msec apart; the whole sequence occurs in a bit more than a tenth of a second), and the eight surrounding arms peel back and form a lovely writhing flower of suction cups and waving hydrostatic grasping organs. Oh, this is such a splendidly baroque little carnivore.

Photographs of selected frames from a high-speed cine? sequence of the capture of prey (a penaeid shrimp) with the tentacles by Loligo pealei. The elapsed time (ms) from the start of the sequence is indicated in the upper left-hand corner of each frame and corresponds to the time indicated by the abscissa of the plots in Fig. 2. The grid spacing in the background is 0.02m.

Kier W, Leeuwen J (1997) A kinematic analysis of tentacle extension in the squid Loligo pealei. J. Exp. Biol. 200:41-53.


  1. #1 Ichthyic
    December 7, 2006

    which supposedly can shoot out more than 3M (9 feet) to deliver the beak to chomp onto a fish.

    self proclaimed squidologist, indeed.

    I do hope you meant that as parody, ’cause it’s just so wrong it’s scary otherwise.

    nice resurrection, too, btw.

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