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Usurped By Legend: A Review Of Matthew Gavin Frank’s ‘Preparing The Ghost’

When you read something in a book, do you believe it? You might say, “Of course not if it’s...

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...

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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 »

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The world's biggest squids (accurately named "giant" and "colossal") have the world's biggest eyes, which may seem like a no-brainer until you consider that they are by no means the world's biggest animals. And yet, their eyes are more than twice the size of a blue whale's. Why?

A group of Swedish, American, and Israeli scientists (gotta love that multicultural research!) suggests that big squid need big eyes to see their big predators--sperm whales. Specifically, big eyes are great for spotting the luminous clouds kicked up by sperm whales as they jostle the bioluminescent plankton of the deep.
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.)