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Let your tentacles trail behind you while we explore these unusual cephalopods.

Thanks again to our friends at Nautilus Live! Learn more about Ocean Exploration Trust and watch E/V Nautilus explore the ocean LIVE at or

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00:00 There are many different ways to be a squid...
01:29 cockatoo squid
02:28 Asperoteuthis mangoldae
03:23 piglet squid
There are many different ways to be a squid, to swim or float through the oceans, translucent, like a living soap bubble.

Perhaps your arms and tentacles trail behind you, or perhaps you hold them upright, forming a little crest or a branching rack of antlers. You might be long and thin, a feather quill come to life with fluttering fins, or maybe you’re more of a water balloon, propelling yourself comically forward and back.

However you’re shaped, though, all it takes is a quick flick of your arms, and you’re gone, arrowing away into the depths. [♪♪ INTRO ♪♪] Welcome back to our series of explorations of the fascinatingly bizarre beasts that populate our oceans. And thanks again to Nautilus Live for the footage. There is a whole world of strange squids out there, thriving in the waters of the Pacific Ocean.

And when they’re encountered by a remotely operated vehicle, some of them float seemingly without effort, suspended by their own internal chemistry. Like this cockatoo squid. Its two fins gently undulate in the current, attached to the pointed end of its mantle, the inflated-looking part of its body.

And the dark object you can see contained within its walls is the squid’s digestive gland. The cockatoo squid is also sometimes known as a glass squid, for obvious reasons, though, it’s not always so transparent. Like many other squids, its body is covered in color-changing organs called chromatophores.

Squid use these for camouflage and communication, choosing their patterns to blend in or stand out. But changing color isn’t always enough of a signal. Sometimes, it takes a little more effort to get your message across.

Take, for example, this Asperoteuthis mangoldae. It’s an odd-looking squid at first glance its two flapping fins are positioned at the tip of its mantle, but beyond them extends a strange structure that looks like a fanciful feather quill pen. It’s striped in gold – a contrast to the purple and red of the rest of its narrow body.

Until…something known only to the squid prompts it to turn that bizarre tail fully gold and dart towards the ROV. Its extended and waving arms appear menacing, but the display lasts for only a moment before it releases a cloud of ink and quickly swims away. Perhaps this denizen of the deep ocean was startled by the vehicle’s presence… Unlike this piglet squid, our final squid of this underwater journey.

It seems serene and unbothered, just a floating orb of glass, barely moving its tiny fins as it hangs effortlessly in the water. Like its cousin, the cockatoo squid, the piglet squid stores ammonia in its body tissues to control its buoyancy. And while many cephalopods, the group that includes squids and octopuses, can seem alien to us, the piglet squid’s arrangement of arms, eyes, and siphon create the appearance of a comical face.

We can’t know what’s taking place behind its big, dark eyes, but perhaps it’s pondering the strange appearance of the ROV… like a staring contest between the natural and technological worlds, deep beneath the waves. But these moments always come to an end… and the piglet squid moves on. Thanks for joining us on this short dive into the world of squids.

We’ll be back on the first Friday of next month with one of our regular Bizarre Beasts videos. [♪♪ OUTRO ♪♪]