This Angry, Tiny Squid May Hypnotize You

A bobtail squid. Photo by East Timor.
A bobtail squid. Photo by East Timor.

Prepare to be mesmerized by a tiny, angry-looking squid known as the bobtail squid or, more adorably, the dumpling squid.

These tiny cephalopods are closely related to cuttlefish that live in shallow coastal waters in the Pacific Ocean, Indian Ocean and off the coast of South Africa.


They also have a symbiotic relationship with a bioluminescent bacteria called Vibrio fischeri, which live in an organ in the tiny creature’s mantle. This gives the squid the amazing ability to brilliantly glow as it moves about the ocean through the use of jet propulsion.

“The squid emit ventral luminescence that is often very, very close to the quality of light coming from the moon and stars at night,” Margaret McFall-Ngai, professor of medical microbiology and immunology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, told

But possibly most amazing is the bobtail squid’s ability to change color at the drop of a hat. While many cephalopods can change color, this one’s super small and agitated nature makes it even more intriguing.

According to the poster of this video, which was filmed at Portsea Pier, this bobtail squid was angered or agitated by a crab. It then changed color from black to white and back again as it prepares to squirt ink at its enemy. While some animals use their ability to change color to blend into their surroundings, this squid tries to use it to warn predators.

In addition to its color-changing skills, this sneaky little squid can also easily hide itself by burying itself in the sand on the seafloor. Only his eye stays visible.


But in just a moment, the dumpling squid is ready to dart away.


See ya!

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