Grimalditeuthis! Now there's a name for you! The House of Grimaldi was founded in 1160 by Grimaldo Canella, a prominent statesman of the Most Serene Republic of Genoa. They soon became one of its most powerful families, which meant they couldn't help but wade neck-deep in the murky world of politics and conspiracy, civil war and exile, and struggle between the Holy Roman Emperor and the Pope.
|Image: Mathieu CHAINE|
It was tactics like that which got him known as il Malizia, the Cunning.
Unfortunately he was ousted 4 years later and it wasn't until 1419 that the Grimaldis finally secured permanent possession of Monaco. It took centuries and who knows how many generations, but it sure shows the value of writing stuff down so that all your descendants know what you want your surname to be doing after you're gone.
|Prince Albert I|
He even got a bit of Spitsbergen named after him! It's called Albert I Land. Which is weird.
In 1898, he finally got a squid to call his own. Dreams come true after all! It's Grimalditeuthis, teuthis meaning "squid". This honour was bestowed on the honoured-quite-enough-already prince by Louis Joubin, who happens to have a very dainty Joubiniteuthis of his own. These oceanographers sure stick together.
|Image: Richard E. Young|
Most squid have a pair of powerful, muscular tentacles for snatching prey. They each end in a club festooned with suckers and cruel claws for gaining a merciless grip on their victims. But G. bonplandi is different.
Their tentacles are thin and extremely weak, with very little musculature. The clubs at the end have no claws, no suckers, and nothing else that might strike fear in the hearts of the small squid and shrimp they somehow manage to feast upon.
So it's a good thing they finally managed to film one in its natural environment!
The squid was spotted lazing about at a depth of some 1,000 metres (3,300 ft), its transparent body leaving little to the imagination. The long tentacles appear to have a will of their own. Instead of the squid extending its tentacles with those weak muscles, the clubs seem to swim of their own accord, dragging and stretching the tentacles behind them while the rest of the squid looks on.
When the squid wants to leave, it swims toward those tentacle clubs until they're close enough for it to lovingly cradle them in numerous arms. All in all, it's rather like an inquisitive puppy at the end of one of those retractable dog leads.
It's thought that the tentacle club may be mimicking the movement of a small creature in the sea. Prey is lured closer, thinking they're closing in on a potential mate or something nice to eat. At these depths it's too dark for the tentacles to be seen, so perhaps their motion causes bioluminescence in nearby plankton or turbulence in the water which attracts prey.
No-one has seen G. bonplandi catch anything, so it isn't known what it would do when dinner is within reach. One thing is clear though, Grimalditeuthis il Malizia doesn't need a Franciscan monk outfit to be cunning.