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The Stubby Squid - Rossia Pacifica

This adorable googly-eyed creature could pass for an extra on Finding Dory. It is a member of the bobtail squid family. Although it appears to be a cross between a squid and an octopus, it is actually more closely related to a cuttlefish, another species of cephalopod. Similar to an octopus they mostly live on the sandy bottom, rather than swimming around in the water column. They inhabit the deep ocean, at around 300 meters, although some have been found as deep as 1,000m.

Some say Stubbies are weird-looking and look more like a stuffed puppet than an animal, however they are actually really cool and they have a very remarkable superpower. They can ‘switch on’ a sticky mucus jacket that collects stones, sand and other bits of substrate, making a cool camouflage overcoat. When they need to ambush prey or mate they are able to ‘switch off’ the mucus jacket. Additionally, when life becomes too much and they need some alone time, they bury themselves in small holes within the sand and mud inside their ‘jacket’ with only their giant eyes exposed to locate their prey. They dig their camouflaged holes by expelling jets of water from their body cavity through a funnel just below the head. Here they will sit, gathering handfuls of sand, throwing it over themselves to complete their self-burial.

Stubby squids have a short and round body (mantle), with the female measuring twice the size of the males, (4.5 inches in contrast to 2 inches). Their head is separate from its body, complete with two complex, googly eyes. They are beautifully coloured, a purple-red, which is partly due to the bioluminescent bacteria that take up residence within their mantle. When disturbed they turn an iridescent green-ish grey and squirt out a little blob of ink that is remarkably the same shape as the body of a squid.

Like squids, they are equipped with eight suckered arms and two long tentacles which retract and extend when they are grabbing prey. As adults they mostly eat shrimp caught with long tentacles and a horny beak, that is situated on the underside of their body, whilst the young ones feed on small crustaceans

The lifespan of a stubby is between 18 months to 2 years, they die as soon as they have reproduced, no such thing as safe sex for these guys!! The male stubby dies as soon as he has accomplished fertilization with his impressive hectocotylus armed arm. The female will lay three batches of eggs over a period of three weeks, each egg is encased inside a large creamy capsule, measuring a minuscule 0.3-0.5 inches. She will attach her beloved eggs in small groups to various substrates including seaweeds, clam shell and sponges. Once she safely placed all her eggs, she dies.

The EV Nautilus, run by the Exploration Trust recently discovered this googly-eyed cartoon octopus. This is not the only cool animal they have discovered so if you want to observe something entirely adorable, then check out the video from YouTube I have attached.

Written by Angela Warrior (@Pure Sea Mexico).

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