Friday 31 August 2012

Armed Cranch Squid

Image: Richard E. Young
Galiteuthis armata
You don't need the eyes of an Armed Cranch Squid to see the ridiculous weaponry of the Armed Cranch Squid! Which is good news; eyes like that would upset the delicate balance of my face.

It's Galiteuthis armata, a kind of deep sea Glass Squid from the Mediterranean Sea and the northern half of the Atlantic Ocean. As far as I can tell, it reaches some 60 cm (2 feet) long not including tentacles, although some say it's more like a quarter of that and still others an eighth... It ain't easy.

Either way, they have a long, narrow tail fin and big, googly eyes.

Image: Richard E. Young
HUGE googly eyes! As if the entire squid is the next step in the evolution of the eye.

I can see how arms and tentacles would be useful to an eyeball. Like other squid, the Armed Cranch has 8 arms and 2 tentacles. Here, the arms are really, really short.

The tentacles on the other hand, they... they...

Image: Richard E. Young
Are a sight to behold. And maybe run away from, too. They're armed with the most vicious hooks I've ever seen. Imagine all those movies where some girl slaps some guy across the face. With this tentacle she would do more than upset the delicate balance; she could take his face home with her! Probably be quite difficult to scrape it off... I'm gonna stop imagining that now.

Maybe the Armed Cranch Squid is in a constant state of wide-eyed amazement? "Whoa! Look at these things! They were like, here yesterday... and now they're here today!" Or maybe they have to be about 24 times more vigilant than Captain Hook, and that guy always kept a careful eye on his one hook.

Image source
Young Armed Cranch Squid live right up at the surface of the ocean but they descend to deeper and deeper depths as they mature. Eventually they end up at 1 or 2,000 metres depth. Presumably the bug eyes snatch every available fleck of light, while the claws grip and rip fish and such with incredible violence that's best left in the darkness. I sure hope the youngsters have a plate or something to cover their innocent eyes.