Unusual Sea Creatures: Vampiric Squid (The Vampire Squid Of Hell)

Light Emitting Vampiric Squid
Light Emitting Vampiric Squid

Vampire Squid of Hell

The vampire squid, or vampiric squid, is a creature which takes it's name from the latin 'vampyroteuthis infernalis' which literally translates to vampire squid of Hell.

Vampiric squid are often found in tropical oceans and although the creature was originally classified as a type of octopus in 1903 by Carl Chun, the vampiric squid was later assigned to a new order, along with various extinct taxa.

Vampire squid are generally found in the deeper depths of tropical oceans, usually between 2,000-3,000 ft below the surface which is fascinating because at this level, the OMZ (Oxygen Minimum Zone), there is not enough oxygen saturation for aerobic metabolism in higher organisms.

However, rather impressively the vampiric squid is one of the only creatures that is able to continue breathing normally in this zone at oxygen saturation levels as low as 3% and can survive just fine.

Vampire squid consist of a gelatinous body which can actually appear to vary in colour due to various lighting and atmospheric conditions. Sometimes the vampire squid can appear to be jet black whilst at other times it can appear to have a strong reddish hue.

Vampiric squid can reach lengths of approximately 1-ft (30cm) with the creature's body making up around 50% of it's length.

The vampire squid has eight arms, or tentacles, each of which is interconnected by webbing and lined with rows of spines. Vampiric squid can have extremely large eyes in proportion to their body, sometimes as large as 1-inch. Under varying lighting conditions,a vampire squid's eyes can appear to be either red or blue.

Rather fascinatingly, the vampiric squid is covered with photophores - organs that produce light. These 'light organs' allow the squid to give out disorienting flashes of light which can be used as a defense mechanism to ward off predators.

These fantastic flashes can be as short as a fraction of a second in duration or for up to several minutes. Vampiric squid are able to control the intensity and size of the flashes of light they emit.

Even more fascinatingly, the vampire squid has a pair of photoreceptors on top of it's head which it is believed may be used to detect any movement coming from above.

In addition, the squid uses counterillumination by generating it's own bluish light which cloaks the creature's presence from other creatures below - in other words, whilst the vampiric squid can detect threats from above with it's eyes, it cannot detect them from below if it is looking up and therefore uses bioluminescence to camouflage itself from any predators that may be located below.

The vampiric squid's ink resources are limited and therefore, if attacked, the squid will usually create a cloud of bioluminescent mucus consisting of countless orbs of blue light from the tips of it's tentacles/arms.

The tentacles of a vampiric squid are therefore very different to that of an octopus, they do not suck - they excrete mucus and the squid also uses this method in order to package their food ready for consumption.

By Sparkster

© 2012 Sparkster Hubs

More by this Author


Comments 13 comments

C J Johnson profile image

C J Johnson 4 years ago from BC, Canada

Such a unique and interesting sea creature...fantastic tidbit of info to share with my kids.


sparkster profile image

sparkster 3 years ago from United Kingdom Author

Thanks CJ, I'm sure my kids will love this too, I haven't shown them yet.


sangre profile image

sangre 3 years ago from Ireland

Freaky or what. Never heard of these before. Interesting topic.


Gail Meyers profile image

Gail Meyers 3 years ago from United States

I love to read about different animals, but I have never heard of these before. Thanks for writing about this interesting and unique creature.


sparkster profile image

sparkster 3 years ago from United Kingdom Author

My pleasure Gail. A fantastic creature indeed, it fascinates me how so intricately designed/evolved some of the creatures under the sea are. We actually know more about what's in space than we do about what's under the oceans.


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 3 years ago from England

What a beautiful creature in a strange sort of way! fascinating how it lights up like that, great info, and I learned something new! lol! voted up and hub shared, nell


2besure profile image

2besure 3 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

Say the title, had to read. Very interesting hub! Voted up!


JKenny profile image

JKenny 3 years ago from Birmingham, England

A fascinating creature, with a cool name. There's something magically odd about squid, they're not like anything else alive today. Thanks for sharing.


sgbrown profile image

sgbrown 3 years ago from Southern Oklahoma

Very interesting! It is amazing what creature live in the depths of the sea. Voting up and interesting! :)


Teresa Coppens profile image

Teresa Coppens 3 years ago from Ontario, Canada

Very interesting creature. More oddities are being discovered as our ability to explore the ocean depths improves. I enjoyed very much reading about this very cool creature.


Cathy Fidelibus profile image

Cathy Fidelibus 3 years ago from NJ

Fascinating, thanks. I used to love going to the aquarium when my boys were younger the squid was one of the most interesting for us. We were told that they are the most intellegent of invertebrates. Maze and problem-solving experiments show that they have both short- and long-term memory. Voted up.


CloudExplorer profile image

CloudExplorer 3 years ago from New York City

Wow this was an awesome hub and its filled with factual information all about the biological aspects of these cruel predator Vampire Squids defense mechanisms & predatory weaponry, nice job on this one, you definitely did some fine tuned detailed research.

Thumbs up and getting shared bro, Bravo!


sparkster profile image

sparkster 3 years ago from United Kingdom Author

Thanks for the great comments.

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working