The cock-eyed squid, Histioteuthis heteropsis, gets its name from the different sized eyes it has. It is thought that the larger eye detects faint light that filters down from above, and the smaller one spots bioluminescence generated in the deep water below. The spots all over the squid’s skin are photophores - or light organs - perhaps used to mask its silhouette from predators and prey.

(via: Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute)

Absurd Creature of the Week:  Carnivorous Harp Sponge
by Matt Simon
If you were a sea creature and you wanted to form a band, you’d have some tough decisions to make. Who should take vocals: dolphins or whales? And what about the drums? Presumably it’d be some sort of cephalopod, what with all those arms, but would it play on giant clams or brain corals? And good luck finding stringed instruments, unless you want to risk anaphylactic shock and strum some jellyfish.
But if you can manage it, plunge to around 10,000 feet deep and you’ll find your strings anchored right to the seafloor. This is the 3-foot-wide harp sponge, and there’s nothing quite like it on the planet. It’s hardly even a sponge as we would recognize it, having left behind the filter-feeding lifestyle and become a carnivore, passively nabbing tiny critters unlucky enough to float through its strings. Think SpongeBob SquarePants, only without the pants and with way more murder.
The remarkable image above is from 2012 when scientists, including marine biologist Henry Reiswig of British Columbia’s University of Victoria, collected two specimens and observed 10 more off the California coast using two remotely operated vehicles from the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute. At such depths, though, collecting good specimens is exceedingly difficult because it can take hours to return to the surface…
(read more: Wired Science)
image: MBARI

Absurd Creature of the Week:  Carnivorous Harp Sponge

by Matt Simon

If you were a sea creature and you wanted to form a band, you’d have some tough decisions to make. Who should take vocals: dolphins or whales? And what about the drums? Presumably it’d be some sort of cephalopod, what with all those arms, but would it play on giant clams or brain corals? And good luck finding stringed instruments, unless you want to risk anaphylactic shock and strum some jellyfish.

But if you can manage it, plunge to around 10,000 feet deep and you’ll find your strings anchored right to the seafloor. This is the 3-foot-wide harp sponge, and there’s nothing quite like it on the planet. It’s hardly even a sponge as we would recognize it, having left behind the filter-feeding lifestyle and become a carnivore, passively nabbing tiny critters unlucky enough to float through its strings. Think SpongeBob SquarePants, only without the pants and with way more murder.

The remarkable image above is from 2012 when scientists, including marine biologist Henry Reiswig of British Columbia’s University of Victoria, collected two specimens and observed 10 more off the California coast using two remotely operated vehicles from the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute. At such depths, though, collecting good specimens is exceedingly difficult because it can take hours to return to the surface…

(read more: Wired Science)

image: MBARI

Deep Sea Octopus

Dive 07, July 15, Northeast U.S. Canyons Expedition 2013

An octopus makes his way along the seafloor; note the siphon that is out and then retracted. Seen while exploring the western wall of Atlantis Canyon.

Video courtesy of NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program.

scienceyoucanlove

realmonstrosities:

Bathyteuthis berryi is a deep sea squid that has been spotted carrying a gelatinous membrane full of 360 eggs in their tentacles.

Other squid attach their eggs to the sea floor and leave, never to see them again. Either that or they produce an overwhelmingly huge number of floating eggs and hope a few survive.

For a food-starved squid living far above the ocean floor, neither option is viable, so it’ll have to be the old “carry a big, mucusy net of children” strategy.

This is just the second squid to be seen carrying out any form of parental care, but it may be quite common in the deeps. You just have to be in the right place at the right time to see it!

More in this video by MBARI.

montereybayaquarium

montereybayaquarium:

Missed the start of #CephalopodWeek? 

Catch up with this cephalopod video triple feature from Science Friday! Get a glimpse behind the scenes of the Aquarium and the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute and see how we culture cuttlefish and study mysterious vampire squid.

Watch the videos

But wait—there’s more! Tune in to Science Friday tomorrow—part of the radio broadcast will feature the ocean’s most mysterious multi-armed family.

HEY KIDS:  Make a Vampyroteuthis Hat!
The Vampire Squid (Vampyroteuthis infernalis)
The vampire squid is a member of the class Cephalopoda. Cephalopods are a large group of soft-bodied marine invertebrates that include squid, octopuses, cuttlefish,and nautiluses.
While vampire squid may look like squid and octopus in some ways, they are much more primitive, closely resembling fossils more than 250 million-years-old. In spite of their scary-sounding name, vampire squid are delicate, slow-moving creatures that drift along in the dark, cold layer of the ocean called the oxygen-minimum zone.
Organisms have a hard time surviving in this environment because of the low levels of dissolved oxygen in the water. As a result,there are few predators and even fewer organisms that vampire squid can prey upon. They feed primarily on tiny particles of organic material that drift down from the ocean surface,a substance sometimes called“marine snow.” Vampire squid capture this organic material using a long, sticky feeding filament similar to a fishing line, then slurp off the bits and pieces that get stuck to it…
(Go here to print out your hat: Science Friday)

HEY KIDS:  Make a Vampyroteuthis Hat!

The Vampire Squid (Vampyroteuthis infernalis)

The vampire squid is a member of the class Cephalopoda. Cephalopods are a large group of soft-bodied marine invertebrates that include squid, octopuses, cuttlefish,and nautiluses.

While vampire squid may look like squid and octopus in some ways, they are much more primitive, closely resembling fossils more than 250 million-years-old. In spite of their scary-sounding name, vampire squid are delicate, slow-moving creatures that drift along in the dark, cold layer of the ocean called the oxygen-minimum zone.

Organisms have a hard time surviving in this environment because of the low levels of dissolved oxygen in the water. As a result,there are few predators and even fewer organisms that vampire squid can prey upon. They feed primarily on tiny particles of organic material that drift down from the ocean surface,a substance sometimes called“marine snow.” Vampire squid capture this organic material using a long, sticky feeding filament similar to a fishing line, then slurp off the bits and pieces that get stuck to it…

(Go here to print out your hat: Science Friday)

Pelagic parenting: A deep-sea squid broods its eggs

Reproduction is one of the many challenges faced by deep-sea animals. In recent years, submersibles have allowed scientists to explore the lives of deep-sea animals in ways that were not possible before.

One of the many exciting discoveries was that a mother of the deep-sea squid species Gonatus onyx broods her eggs by holding them in her arms, a behavior that had never been previously reported for squids. This shocking discovery was the first time scientists had evidence of parental care in squids.

In 2012, a team of researchers led by Stephanie Bush, reported finding another species of deep-sea squid that broods eggs, Bathyteuthis berryi, suggesting that this form of parental care may be a common solution to a reproductive problem for deep-sea squids.

Publication:
Bush, S. L., Hoving, H. J. T., Huffard, C. L., Robison, B. R., & L. D. Zeidberg. 2012. Brooding and sperm storage by the deep-sea squid Bathyteuthis berryi (Cephalopoda: Decapodiformes). Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. 92(7):1629-1636.

(via: Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute)

Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute
Cirrothauma murrayi is a cirrate octopus found in very deep waters and is known from the Pacific, Atlantic and Arctic Oceans. This one was seen at 2755 m near the deepest parts of Monterey Canyon. This individual is the only one ever observed with MBARI’s Remotely Operated Vehicles. C. murrayi is virtually blind. The eyes have no lens and are embedded within the gelatinous tissue of the head with no connection to the surface.
  L:  C. murrayi is seen with its arms lifted up over its head revealing the cirri (finger-like projections used to capture food) along the arms. 

R:  In this image, you can see that body is gelatinous and that the eyes do not protrude through the surface of the skin.

Cirrothauma murrayi is a cirrate octopus found in very deep waters and is known from the Pacific, Atlantic and Arctic Oceans. This one was seen at 2755 m near the deepest parts of Monterey Canyon. This individual is the only one ever observed with MBARI’s Remotely Operated Vehicles. C. murrayi is virtually blind. The eyes have no lens and are embedded within the gelatinous tissue of the head with no connection to the surface.


L:  C. murrayi is seen with its arms lifted up over its head revealing the cirri (finger-like projections used to capture food) along the arms.
R:  In this image, you can see that body is gelatinous and that the eyes do not protrude through the surface of the skin.
NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research
A squid flashes in front of Seirios during the Galápagos Rift Expedition 2011 on board NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer. Large schools of squid were commonly seen in the ‘twilight zone’ on descent and ascent of the remotely operated vehicles during the expedition. This expedition marked the debut of the Seirios camera sled and lighting platform. Fans of Okeanos live video will appreciate how Seirios illuminates another remotely operated vehicle from above, providing an expanded view of the ROV as well as enhancing visibility in the surrounding areas. Learn more about Seirios: NOAA Ocean Explorer

A squid flashes in front of Seirios during the Galápagos Rift Expedition 2011 on board NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer. Large schools of squid were commonly seen in the ‘twilight zone’ on descent and ascent of the remotely operated vehicles during the expedition.

This expedition marked the debut of the Seirios camera sled and lighting platform. Fans of Okeanos live video will appreciate how Seirios illuminates another remotely operated vehicle from above, providing an expanded view of the ROV as well as enhancing visibility in the surrounding areas.

Learn more about Seirios: NOAA Ocean Explorer

Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute

Our colleague Chris Mah at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History recently described new species of deep-sea starfish, including one named for MBARI’s ROV Tiburon, which collected the specimen.

Click the link to read more about these new species: http://www.echinoblog.blogspot.com/2014/06/the-hippest-post-you-know-new.html

Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute

Yesterday, the benthic biology group used ROV Doc Ricketts to explore the northeast portion of Sur Ridge, which is located between Monterey Canyon and Sur Canyon. The ridge is covered with a stunning array of deep-sea corals, sponges, and other deep-sea invertebrates and fish. Researchers reported observing at least 8 different species of corals, the most abundant being the large bubblegum coral (Paragorgia arborea). Today, they are exploring the southern side of the ridge.

Read more about the dives at Sur Ridge on the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary’s blog:

Sanctuary Simon