Friday Cephalopod: Bigfin cruiser

Sepioteuthis lessoniana

Figure from Cephalopods: A World Guide (amzn/b&n/abe/pwll), by Mark Norman.


  1. #1 Brownian, OM
    August 29, 2008

    It looks like it’d be fun to ride.

  2. #2 charfles
    August 29, 2008

    I think you left an italics tag open PZ.

  3. #3 Brownian, OM
    August 29, 2008

    Die, runaway tag, die! Die! Die!

  4. #4 Ghost of Minnesota
    August 29, 2008

    That’s McCain’s real running mate, right? Much better choice than Sarah Whatserchick.

  5. #5 Rev. BigDumbChimp, KoT
    August 29, 2008

    keeeeeeeeeel it!

  6. #6 Glen Davidson
    August 29, 2008

    I wondered if it was a cuttlefish, so I looked it up:

    Bigfin Reef Squid, Sepioteuthis lessoniana, are a common species of inshore squid found from the Hawaiian island’s through the tropical indo-pacific to the Red Sea. Like other members of the genus Sepioteuthis, these squid are sometimes mistaken for cuttlefish due to the large fin that surrounds their mantle; the “Sepio” in their scientific name refers to their cuttlefish like appearance. Sepioteuthis are known for their visual communication, elaborate courtship displays, and size sorted schooling behavior. These fascinating yet common inshore squid are often observed by snorkelers and divers.

    Interesting squid.

    Glen D

  7. #7 Qwerty
    August 29, 2008


  8. #8 Luci
    August 29, 2008

    Ghost, that ‘pod is obviously not a Republican.

    He or she is surely fin-tastically gorgeous. Thanks, PZ.

  9. #9 Hank Roberts
    August 29, 2008

    Is this the answer?

  10. #10 Philippe
    August 29, 2008

    Thank you!

  11. #11 tim Rowledge
    August 29, 2008

    That’s no squid, that’s a Vorlon medium attack cruiser spooling up the death ray! Run, Johnny, run!

  12. #12 Kobra
    August 29, 2008

    I hate italics >:[

  13. #13 Patricia
    August 29, 2008

    For some screwball reason this picture made me think of old stills I’ve seen of Isadora Duncan. Beautiful!

  14. #14 Mike Goad
    August 29, 2008

    Very cool picture!

  15. #15 Chris Davis
    August 29, 2008

    That, sir, is a transsonic attack sausage, as eny fule kno.


  16. #16 Sili
    August 29, 2008

    Brownian’s right. It looks like something used by the underwater hoodlums from the Disneyficated Little Mermaid – Cephal without a cause.

  17. #17 Holbach
    August 29, 2008

    Patricia @ 13

    Yeah, almost like the colorful scarf that got caught in the spokes of her motorcycle and strangled her to death. How tragic a loss.
    Patricia: go to the Post- VENN AMBIGUITY, # 78, in answer to yours at # 77. I don’t think you went back after commenting. Check it out.

  18. #18 Arnosium Upinarum
    August 29, 2008


  19. #19 Sili
    August 29, 2008

    I hate italics >:[


  20. #20 J
    August 29, 2008

    Bigfin cruiser? Yeah, you’re right: It DOES look like the squid equivalent of a ’57 Chevy.

  21. #21 bernard quatermass
    August 29, 2008

    It’s beautiful.

    How long before people build a bunch of Starbucks and McDonalds and Wal-Marts where it lives?

  22. #22 Boudicca
    August 29, 2008

    Chris at #15:
    Are you by any chance a graduate of St. Custard’s? Molesworth is one of my heroes.

  23. #23 llewelly
    August 29, 2008

    Am I the only one who noticed what a flaming commie this squid is?

  24. #24 Patricia
    August 29, 2008

    #17 – Holbach – Oops! Sorry. I was having more fun last night than I should have, celebrating the egg, and forgot all about it. D’oh!

  25. #25 efrique
    August 29, 2008

    Wow, that’s so cute.

    But it brings up a thought.

    Why is it we have nifty guys like that zipping around in the water, but 9 out of 10 intelligent science fiction aliens in TV and movies look basically like humans (maybe skinny and with grey skin or more often just with bumpy foreheads)?

    Even the more way-out ones tend largely to be upright, tetrapodal, with a recognizable “head” – though I can think of several notable exceptions.

    Of course, it’s cheaper and easier in makeup and so on if you can make them look human, but surely that isn’t all of it. We have some wonderfully inspiring creatures here on earth (and many more in the past) that they ought to typically be at least as “weird” (to us) looking as.

  26. #26 PaulM
    August 29, 2008

    He/she (it?) is beautiful. I’m wondering how big he/she/it is. There’s nothing in the picture to provide a sense of scale. Does anybody know?

  27. #27 LisaJ
    August 29, 2008


    I had no idea these Cephalopods were so diverse until I started frequenting Pharyngula. Thanks for the education PZ.

  28. #28 Alcari
    August 29, 2008

    Hmm, it’s going to sound like spam, or advertising, but I just had to point out this awesome plush toy, for all you people who always wanted an octopus at home, but couldn’t.

  29. #29 Patricia
    August 29, 2008

    Thanks Alcari – That is a nice link.
    But over on the crafter’s thread we are discussing knitting, crocheting and tatting our own!

  30. #30 Bride of Shrek OM
    August 29, 2008

    efrique @ #25

    IIRC a few episodes of Star Trek- TNG had a race on it called….wait for it…the Calamarians. Basically giant squiddies which, again IIRC, were telepathic (probably cause the orginality of the writers had expired at the word “Calamarians” and they couldn’t be arsed making up a language as well).

    Having said all that I think this particularly squidness looks like one of those majestically carved Maori war boats. Awesomely beautiful and awesomely ..well…awesome.

  31. #31 Patricia
    August 30, 2008

    Bride of Shrek, OM – Left some idiot bashing comments for you over on the big foot thread.
    I’m off to bed, have to peddle herbs and eggs tomorrow early at the farmers market.

  32. #32 Bride of Shrek OM
    August 30, 2008


    Woo hoo, tag team troll slaying. Sluts unite!!

  33. #33 Jason
    August 30, 2008

    Wait, how big is this guy?

  34. #34 Ragutis
    August 30, 2008


    F.Y.I.: new special about the Colossal Squid on Discovery Channel tomorrow (Sunday, Aug 31st).

    Tune in an hour early for a repeat of their Giant Squid special.

  35. #35 scooter
    August 30, 2008

    Bride of Shrek

    Woo hoo, tag team troll slaying. Sluts unite!!

    Whoa sounds like fun, can I come…. er, I mean attend ?

  36. #36 Monado
    August 30, 2008

    Patricia [#13],
    No doubt because it’s an image of grace in motion. It struck me the same way – as an image of dance.

  37. #37 Obbop
    November 2, 2008

    The Navy is chock-full of squids.

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