Deep-sea creatures come in all shapes and sizes. But whether these ocean dwellers look downright frightening or perfectly adorable, they never fail to be interesting. Deep-sea creatures live in a completely different, light-less ecosystem to the one we inhabit. Which means they have evolved all kinds of fascinating tricks to survive. And catching a glimpse of these creatures and their unique abilities really does feel like looking at another planet. Recently, a team of MBARI (Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute) researchers took a breathtaking 4K video of a special denizen of the deep, the strawberry squid.
The strawberry squid is firstly just a beautiful creature. But beyond that, its biology is incredibly cool. The researchers share:
The strawberry squid has one big eye and one small eye. Together, this unlikely pair helps the squid hunt for food in the ocean’s twilight zone. The big left eye looks upward to spot shadows cast by prey in the dimly lit waters above. The eye’s tubular shape helps collect as much downwelling light as possible. Often, this eye has a yellow lens to see through the luminescent camouflage of its prey. The squid’s right eye is small and looks downward. This eye searches for flashes of bioluminescence produced by prey or predators lurking in the darker waters below.
One eye up and one eye down seems like a wise move so deep in the ocean. And it’s incredible how the two eyes come together to help the squid survive its deep water life. The strawberry squid’s big greenish-yellow eye offers a big help to the creature in the ocean’s twilight zone. This area of the ocean “is a layer of water that stretches around the globe. It lies 200 to 1,000 meters (about 650 to 3,300 feet) below the ocean surface, just beyond the reach of sunlight.” This strawberry squid lives 2,378 feet deep in Monterey Canyon. It’s pretty far down from the sun, so it needs all the light-collecting help it can get.
And honestly, this creature does look like a strawberry. So how could we not love it? A big round of applause to technology for helping us meet this fantastic deep-sea creature.