This rarely-seen squid is one of the most hellish, demonic creatures that can be found in the deep sea.
When we think about deep-sea creatures, we often picture strange and frightening beasts. Beasts with huge eyes watching from the darkness and teeth larger than their mouths. Yet, even with those images in mind, we’d probably be utterly unprepared if we bumped into Vampyroteuthis infernalis, the vampire squid from hell.
No, seriously. Vampyroteuthis infernalis literally translates to “vampire squid from hell”. And, if you watch this video below, you’ll see exactly why. Those pale blue eyes are incredibly unsettling.
Haunting depths from 2,000 to 3,000 ft (600 to 900 meters), Vampyroteuthis inhabits a realm far deeper (and darker) than most of your “typical” deep sea fish. This zone, sometimes known as “the Shadow Zone”, is called the Oxygen Minimum Zone.
As the name suggests, there is very little oxygen here, but Vampyroteuthis can live and breathe normally at oxygen saturations as low as 3 percent. This is quite a rare adaptation that no other cephalopod (squids, octopuses, and the like) and few other animals possess.
On top of that, instead of possessing suckers on their tentacles like squids or octopi, Vampyroteuthis has strange, spike-like protrusions under each arm called cirri. These spikes are harmless, but when threatened, Vampyroteuthis will fold its webbed arms over its body, producing a billowing “cape” and displaying its “spikes”.
As frightening as its name might sound, one thing might make you breathe easier: the vampire squid doesn’t kill its prey. In fact, it doesn’t even eat live prey. Instead, it mostly feeds on “marine snow” — a mixture of debris that includes decaying organic matter (yes, the dead bodies of animals and rotting algae) that floats down from the surface.
Gross, but not quite as terrifying as one might expect.
Watch the squid sighting in the full video below: