It’s called a squid, but the deep-sea dwelling Vampyroteuthis infernalis — also known as the vampire squid — is the last surviving member of the vampyromorphida, and a new study has shed some rather interesting facts about the elusive species.
The creatures, which are quite luminescent, can be found in deep-ocean environments, making observing them a tall order as they also don’t typically survive in captivity. However, a new study published in Current Biology turns theories about how the creature reproduces on its head, according to a Christian Science Monitor report.
Squids are known to spawn only once in their lifetime, but Henk-Jan Hoving of the Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel in Germany noticed that specimens from vampire squid collections had females that had oocytes that were capable of producing more eggs, suggesting that vampire squids have alternating phases of reproducing and resting. Hoving examined vampire squid specimens that were decades old at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History when he noticed the difference between vampire squids and true squids, prompting his research.
Why is that? Scientists believe that it may be that vampire squids just don’t have the energy that true squids have to use all their eggs in one mating event. Because they live in the deep seas, they have developed into a much slower metabolic life form with low calorie intake and a relatively inactive life. Therefore, such a huge expenditure of energy would be impractical for the vampire squid.
Instead, a vampire squid probably spawns more than 100 times in its life, which means it lives longer than true squids.
The new findings reveal that there is much more to learn about this elusive deep-sea creature. Hoving said that there are “many aspects” of the vampire squid that remain unknown, such as how old they can become or when they reach reproductive age.