Bizarre 'vampire squid from hell' feeds off corpses of sea creatures
Although it was discovered over a century ago, the so-called vampire squid remains one of the ocean's most mysterious creatures.
It is known by many scientists as Vampyroteuthis infernalis, which means "vampire squid from hell," but the bizarre creature actually doesn't kill its prey.
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The animal instead uses two thread-like filaments to catch debris as it sinks from the surface level of the ocean further into the deep sea, where it lives.
The cephalopod earned its name because of its reddish-brown skin and the webbing that connects its arms. It also has piercing blue eyes.
But the "vampire" doesn't feast on blood.
The creature is part of a group of animals known as "detritivores" that feast on a diet of detritus and waste that might make the typical human cringe. The primary diet of "marine snow" sounds relatively benign, but it is made up of a mixture of dead sea creatures, snot and feces.
The remains of other sea animals and microscopic algae sink to the depths of the ocean once they die before the cephalopod scoops them up for a meal, in addition to snacking on fecal pellets passed by small animals, including copepods and krill.
The snot it consumes consists of debris from larvaceans, or gelatinous animals, which also consume marine snow by way of their mucus nets.
The animal is also not technically a real squid, according to the MarineBio Conservation Society, "they are small 'squids' reaching maximum lengths of 28 cm."