Wednesday 11 March 2015

Pyjama Striped Squid

Image: Klaus Stiefel
Sepioloidea lineolata
Striped Pyjama Squid are always ready for bed!

Except at night.

Image: Scubagirl85
Yup, they're nocturnal!

At night, they can be seen swimming in short bursts over soft, sandy sediment on the east, west and southern coast of Australia. They don't like to swim for too long so they treat the whole sea floor like a giant mattress and kind of bounce around on it as they seek out fish and shrimp for a midnight snack.

Image: Klaus Stiefel
They reach about 5 cm (2 in) long, not including their tentacles, and you only need a glance at that dumpy, little body of theirs to know why they're also known as Striped Dumpling Squid.

These stripy dumplings are not the only so-called Dumpling Squid out there. It's also a name that applies to Bobtail Squid. They do look quite similar!

Image: Klaus Stiefel
Striped Pyjama Squid are one of the more eye-catching members of a small family known as Sepiadariidae, the Bottletail Squid. This family used to be placed within the Sepiolida order, alongside Bobtails and Pygmy Squid. Nowadays they're put in with the Cuttlefish.

There's a reason why Bobtails and Bottletails might have both ended up so short and stout. You can see it when the sun comes up and sleepy Striped Pyjama Squid put those pyjamas to use.

Video: Agx81j1994

When it's time to tuck themselves in, they swiftly bury themselves in that soft, sandy sediment. That's just what the Bobtails do, and it's clear that a long, pointy body wouldn't be much help for that kind of disappearing act.

Hey, I do it, too! But I prefer to use duvets and blankets rather than sand.

Image: Klaus Stiefel
Only their eyes are left poking out of the sea floor. You can't be too careful...

On that note, a word of caution: Striped Pyjama Squid are not without defences!

Their underside is armed with numerous glands that allow them to secrete copious amounts of mucus when they're attacked. This mucus is thought to be poisonous! Which means those lovely pyjama stripes are really there to serve as a warning to others.

Along with the Blue-ringed Octopus and Pfeffer's Flamboyant Cuttlefish, these are the only cephalopods known to be poisonous. Stripes, rings and outright flamboyance. These are the calling cards of the poisoner.


TexWisGirl said...

very cute! look but don't touch. :)

Lear's Fool said...

That is easily the perkiest cephalopod video I've seen all month!

Unknown said...

It reminds me of an old fashioned prison uniform.

Joseph JG said...

@TexWisGirl: That's the long and the short of it!

@Lear's Fool: Haha! Blame it on the J-Pop!

@Jacob Littlejohn: Yeah, maybe the burying thing is a bit of solitary confinement!