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Octopods Nautilids Cuttlefishes Squids and Relatives: Cephalopoda

Vampire Squid (vampyroteuthis Infernalis): Species Accounts

Physical characteristics: This squid's skin has many light-producing organs. There are large, circular light-producing organs just behind the fins on the mantle. The tentaclelike arms are covered by tiny, hairlike structures called cirri (SIH-ree). The arms have suckers only on the outer halves.

Geographic range: This species is found in all cool and warm water oceans.

Habitat: Vampire squids live in open waters at depths of 1,965 to 4,920 feet (600 to 1,500 meters).

Diet: They probably eat jellylike animals carried about on ocean currents.

Behavior and reproduction: These fast-swimming animals resemble an umbrella or a bell shape as they move through the water with This species is commonly seen on television programs featuring deep-sea animals. (Illustration by Barbara Duperron. Reproduced by permission.) their webbed arms extended forward. They create complex flashing displays with their light-producing organs.

Vampire squids and people: This species is commonly seen on television programs featuring deep-sea animals.

They hatch with one pair of fins, but then develop a second pair closer to the front of the body. For a short period the vampire squid has two pairs of fins. The first pair soon disappears. Except for the fins, young vampire squid resemble the adults.

Conservation status: The vampire squid is not considered threatened or endangered. ∎



Okutani, T. Cuttlefish and Squids of the World in Color. Tokyo: National Cooperative Association of Squid Processors, 1995.


Bavendam, F. "Eye to Eye with the Giant Octopus." National Geographic (March 1991): 86-97.

Bavendam, F. "The Giant Cuttlefish. Chameleon of the Reef." National Geographic (September 1995):94-107.

Clarke, M. R., ed. "The Role of Cephalopods in the World's Oceans." Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, London (1996): 977-1112.

Faulkner, D. "The Chambered Nautilus." National Geographic (January 1976): 38-41.

Voss, G. L. "Squids: Jet-powered Torpedos of the Deep." National Geographic (March 1967): 386-411.

Web sites:

"Cephalopoda Cuvier 1797. Octopuses, Squids, Nautiluses, etc." http://tolweb.org/tree?group=Cephalopoda (accessed on April 29, 2005).

"Class Cephalopoda (Octopuses and Squids)." http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Cephalopoda.html (accessed on April 29, 2005).

The Cephalopod Page. http://is.dal.ca/ceph/TCP/index.html (accessed on April 29, 2005).

In Search of Giant Squid. http://seawifs.gsfc.nasa.gov/squid.html (accessed on April 29, 2005).

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceMollusks, Crustaceans, and Related SpeciesOctopods Nautilids Cuttlefishes Squids and Relatives: Cephalopoda - Physical Characteristics, Behavior And Reproduction, Cephalopods And People, Longfin Inshore Squid (loligo Pealeii): Species Accounts - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT, DIET, CONSERVATION STATU