Vampire Squid And The Evolution Of Cephalopod Sex

Everyone loves vampire squid, right? Their monstrous name belies their gentle nature as graceful...

Learning Science From Fiction: A Review Of Ryan Lockwood’s “Below”

In last month’s review of Preparing the Ghost, I mentioned that you can actually learn facts...

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...

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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 »

As a gullible sucker myself, I appreciate the cultural tradition of having one day out of the year when I know not to take anyone seriously.

Technologists may produce the most labor-intensive April Fools' Jokes, but cephalopods know how to have their fun, too. Here's the octopus "gesture to speech" technology that wowed us all just nine short days ago:

One of the more whimsical squid news stories I've seen in a while: A squid, a dog, and a mini-mystery solved at a Minnesota lake.

"Of course, squid are not found in Minnesota lakes," reports journalist Al Edenloff. So true, and so charmingly put!
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
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!