Sunday 8 February 2015

Pygmy Squid

Image: Saspotato
The teeniest, tiniest tentacles of them all!

Yup, Pygmy Squid are the smallest cephalopods in the world.

Image: Saspotato
Tiny, transparent squid on the right. Monstrous appendage on the left
There are 7 or 8 species, each one reaching somewhere between 1 and 3.5 cm (0.4 to 1.4 in) long.

Image: Ria Tan
Long tentacles
In some species the female is sexually mature when she's a mere 8 mm long, not including tentacles. Males are even smaller!

All Pygmy Squid belong to a single genus called Idiosepius, which is the only one in the Idiosepiidae family. They're closely related to those other delightful tiddlers, the Bobtail Squid.

Image: Saspotato
Idiosepius notoides
This in turn means these Pygmies aren't really squid at all. Like Bobtails, they're actually closer to cuttlefish.

Their lives sound ... blissful!

Pygmies live in warm, sun-dappled, Indo-Pacific waters. They keep to the shallows, often among the verdant fronds of seaweed and seagrass.

Video: SgBeachBum

Like a lot of other cephalopods, Pygmy Squid can change colour in the blink of an eye.

Image: Ria Tan
Big eating
One good thing about being so small is in the eating. Pygmy Squid don't have to feed on tiny prey that befits their tiny tentacles; they're well capable of tackling shrimp that are just as big as they are!

They also have a unique skill that distinguishes them from all the other cephalopods.

Image: Rickard Zerpe
Idiosepius paradoxus hanging out
On the back of their mantle is an adhesive organ that allows them to stick onto any one of the leaves that surround them. Now they can just relax and watch the world go by like a tentacle-monster in a cafe. They might even lunge at a passing shrimp for dinner, like a man-eating tentacle-monster in a cafe.

Video: liquidguru

It also comes in handy when the females need to take some time out to stick a clutch of eggs on some foliage.

Surely this is paradise! To swim among the fronds of a warm, underwater meadow. To stick yourself onto a leaf when you get tired. To gorge on a platter of seafood as big as yourself when you get hungry...

It doesn't get better than that.


TexWisGirl said...

it does sound pretty good. :)

Lear's Fool said...


My dreampossible aquarium has many of these octopreciouses!

Unknown said...

These things are adorable! I'd just want to give them a tiny submarine to attack, like a miniature 20,000 leagues under the sea.

20 centimetres under the sea, I suppose

Crunchy said...

They look just like those little squiggly rubber bait lures. Or... maybe those little squiggly rubber bait lures look just like them?

Joseph JG said...

@TexWisGirl: It's heavenly!

@Lear's Fool: You could keep a little army of them! A whole society...

@Jacob Littlejohn: Hahaha! I'd watch it!

@Crunchy: Maybe Pygmy Squid make squiggly rubber statues of themselves and people just harvest them?