Sepioloidea Lineolata: A Squid on Pyjamas !!
The cute little critter down below is commonly known as the "striped pyjama squid" or sometimes as the "striped dumpling squid". Obviously, both common names are derived from the distinctive black stripes on white background that cover its head and body.
However, despite what the common name would have you think, the striped pyjama squid (Sepioloidea lineolata) is not a squid but a cuttlefish, an order of marine animals that belong to the class Cephalopoda, which among other includes squids, octopuses, and nautiluses.
The species' distinctive coloration is most probably a form of aposematism or in simple words a warning signal to predators that the species is poisonous if consumed. This is backed by recent scientific data has revealed that the mucous produced on its surface may be toxic.
Now let's learn more about this wonderful creature!
The striped pyjama squid can be found the southern Indo-Pacific with sightings usually coming from the eastern, southern and western Australia. Individuals tend to reside on the sea floor, inside sand, mud, and seagrass up to 20 meters (~60 feet) deep
This weird animal is quite small, adults are on average only 5 to 7 cm (2- 2.5 in) long. The rounded body is covered by black-brown stripes on a white-creamish background although some individuals come with a mottled purple-brown pattern. Overall, the species can be easily distinguished, with no other animal looking anything like it.
Striped pyjama squids have 8 short webbed arms, each coming that with small suckers and a toothed horny rim. The protruding eyes are yellow with an orange upper lid and finger-like papillae over them.
The body has no shell with its the underside being covered by many small glands that secrete mucous. As aforementioned, there is data suggesting that the mucous is poisonous.
What Does It Eat?
The striped pyjama squid has a simple diet consisting of other small creatures occurring in their environment like shrimp, fish and other invertebrates.
Behavior and Reproduction
Pyjama squids spend most of the lives hiding in the sand, with only their eyes visible on the surface. They do so to protect themselves from larger predators and to increase their chances to capture unsuspecting passing prey. In nighttime they become a bit more active, and may go for hunting if hungry.
When the time to mate comes, the male will forcefully grab any passing female and the two will mate face-to-face as shown in the image down below. Next, the male will place several sperm packets in a pouch below the female's mouth. Sometimes the female has already mated. In this case, the male uses a special lower arm that removes the sperm placed by the previous guy...
The eggs are white and usually laid on rock crevices, under loose rubble or other objects like shells and tin cans. The mother will wait for them to hatch and then leave. The newborns look like miniature-adults and have the distinctive pyjama pattern at birth. The hide right away into the sand and are all-alone with no parental care in their fight for survival.
The IUCN has listed the species as Data Deficient which means more data is needed to assess population size and potential impact of threats. Since It inhabits shallow coastal waters, the pyjama squid is susceptible to anthropogenic influences.
More Strange and Weird Animals
I hope you enjoyed reading about this amazing creature. If you did, please leave a comment and a positive rating! In the meantime, here are a couple of interesting links that you may also enjoy if peculiar creatures are your "thing":
And in case you didn't have enough, here a couple more videos of the striped pyjama squid: