Home WORLD Close Encounter With a Vampire Squid – Nautilus Live

Close Encounter With a Vampire Squid – Nautilus Live

Almost a mile deep off Socorro Island, we had an extended visit with a Vampyroteuthis infernalis–literally meaning “vampire squid from hell.” Neither squid nor octopus, this fierce-sounding cephalopod actually reels in specks of marine snow using two retractable filaments and mucus-covered suckers!

image/text credit: EVNautilus

The vampire squid is an ancient species and is a phylogenic relict, meaning that is is the only surviving member of the order Vampyromorphida.. As a phylogenetic relict, it is the only known surviving member of its order.

The first specimens were collected on the Valdivia Expedition and they were and originally described as an octopus in 1903 by German teuthologist Carl Chun, but later assigned to a new order together with several extinct taxa.


The vampire squid can reach a maximum total length around 30 cm. Its 15-cm (6-in) gelatinous body varies in colour from velvety jet-black to pale reddish, depending on location and lighting conditions. E/V Nautilus is exploring unknown regions of the ocean seeking out new discoveries in biology, geology, and archaeology.