Wow. Every person on the planet saw one version or another of this "Octopolis" story and had to send it to me. It was the subject of a Friday Cephalopod a year ago, you know. Apparently, this is the second octopus city discovered, which is interesting -- they're exhibiting more complex social behaviors. However, I have two complaints. A lot of the stories are describing Octopolis/Octlantis as "gloomy". Why? Is it because the inhabitants aren't swimming around with toothy grins? The cephalopods look quite normal to me. A more serious complaint, about this quote: The discovery was a…
Pale, drifting quietly, long grasping arms, cold and anoxic…we all float down here. Yes, I'm going to go see It this evening. It won't be half as creepy as the reality of the dark deep, though.
I think it's a portrait of my mood right now.
First, a little background: When squid mate, a male transfers its sperm to a female enclosed in complex structures called spermatophores. These are accumulated in the spermatophoric sac, a storage organ inside the mantle cavity, before ejaculation through the penis. Squid that spawn in shelf waters and epipelagic waters of the open ocean usually have short penes hidden completely inside the mantle. Males pick the ejaculated spermatophores from inside their mantle with a specially modified arm called the hectocotylus, to transfer them to the female. Females spawning in shallow water have…
If you've ever wondered what squid ink is made of, here's your answer: Generally, cephalopod ink includes melanin, enzymes related to melanin production, catecholamines, peptidoglycans, free amino acids and metals. But mostly melanin. And mucus.
The sequel is going to go a bit dark: this is a deep ocean sponge. It's dark and ominous, and it's also carnivorous, with sticky spines for capturing and killing passing animals. I think that thing has been waiting for me in a lot of my nightmares.
Time to forage.
You Californians have no excuse. Go to the coast and stop by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute and see the Vampyroteuthis. Oh, wait, that's the fake inflatable one. I don't think you'll get to dive down into the deep dark and see a real one. You might not want to.
Living a languorous life and occasionally nibbling on a jellyfish has its virtues.
We're making the planet a better place for cephalopods. It also helps that humans are busily destroying teleost populations. David Wiltshire P.S. There's a video at the link titled "8 reasons octopuses rule the oceans". Don't bother with it. It is 8 incredibly idiotic reasons that have nothing to do with their success. I felt stupider after watching it.
Trapped in a cunning prison! Oh, no, what are you doing now? Foiled again!
Roy Caldwell, via Tony Morelli
I usually only have good things to say about cephalopods, but it's hard to avoid the truth here: vampire squid aren't exactly beauty queens. MBARI
This is an echinoderm, a feather star, out for a swim. (via Owl Mirror)