Banner
Squid Lady Parts

This Bobtail squid was imaged by the Deep Discover ROV in Atlantis Canyon, is less than one foot...

What's Missing From The World's Largest Cephalopod Exhibit

Guess who’s not being displayed in the Monterey Bay Aquarium's new "Tentacles" exhibit, opening...

It's the Most Squidful Time of the Year!

In case you missed the memo (HOW COULD YOU), we're in the middle of International Cephalopod Awareness...

Whales & Squid: Three Million Battles A Day

When we want to blow our minds with the sheer vastness of nature, we often turn to astronomy. In...

User picture.
picture for Hank Campbellpicture for Helen Barrattpicture for Alex picture for Michael Whitepicture for Josh Wittenpicture for Holly Moeller
Danna StaafRSS Feed of this column.

Cephalopods have been rocking my world since I was in grade school. I pursued them through a BA in marine biology at the University of California, Santa Barbara, followed by a PhD dissertation at... Read More »

Blogroll
Artist Laura Hines has done a couple of gorgeous illustrations of Humboldt squid.


Humboldt Squid #1 (above) is a rendering of this photograph from the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute:


It's a great example of how illustration can improve on photography. The pencil clarifies and emphasizes detail that was obscured by the camera. Lovely work! h/t Squid.us
Thanks to my awesome brother, I have now acquired and read the full text of the paper I blogged about yesterday: "Purification and in vitro antioxidative effects of giant squid muscle peptides on free radical-mediated oxidative systems."

I was promptly horrified by the authors' two-sentence background about the animals whose skin they were studying:
UPDATE: I've learned more about how antioxidants work since writing this post.

Maybe this is a sign that I've become cynical, but when I first read that peptides found in squid skin can slow aging, lower blood pressure, activate neurons, and reduce memory loss, I was like pshaw, right!
Is the Age of Exploration long dead? At The Last Word on Nothing, Richard Panek made the point that there's no longer anywhere on Earth people haven't been. Even the South Pole, which many would consider the most remote spot on the planet, is a regular tourist destination.

Ah! But what about the deep sea? Humans obviously haven't seen every inch of it--not even close. And the deepest spot in the ocean, the Challenger Deep, is much harder to visit than the South Pole. In fact, only one manned expedition has ever touched bottom, making it more like the moon than the pole.
The Telegraph's first picture of the day is a terrifying action shot of a huge dolphin's toothy maw, about to chomp down on a sweet little red squid. Go look at it! Right now! But it's not my fault if you get nightmares. 
Dolphins are so scary.

(As this picture was shot in the Bahamas, the squid is most likely a Caribbean Reef Squid.)
If you want to know basic things about animals, like who eats whom, you might guess that your days would consist of watching real-life nature documentaries. You might expect to go out into the savannah or into the depths of the sea to observe predators hunting and devouring their prey.

Actually, it takes a lot of sitting still and watching to see even a single predation event. It turns out you can get a lot more data a lot more quickly by looking at predator vomit and feces. Oh, the glamour of science!

When it comes to squid, the remmants they leave in their predators' guts or scat are usually beaks. These hard, chitinous structures last a lot longer than the muscle that makes up the rest of the squid.