Scientists scanning the rocky ocean floor off Southern California have spotted a bright purple, googly-eyed stubby squid. The creature, a stubby squid, was discovered by the Exploration Vessel Nautilus team after they placed a camera on a remote-operated vehicle and came across the iridescent cephalopod with giant round eyes.
The animal looks like a cross between a squid and an octopus but is closely related to a cuttlefish, according to the Nautilus Live website. They spend their life on the sea floor, buried in the sediment to camouflage, using their big eyes to spot their prey.
“In addition to the googly-eyed cuteness, there is one thing biologically interesting about this observation,” said cephalopod expert Michael Vecchione of the Smithsonian Institution. The creature could be a new species, he wrote in an email to the expedition.
It was spotted at nearly 3,000 feet deep, which is unusual, but not unheard of. But, on top of that, the stubby squid did not have chromatophores, cells that allow it to change color, as members of its species do, Vecchione said.
The question cannot be answered because this particular stubby squid remains deep in the ocean, out of scientists’ reach.
The Nautilus team is part of a four-month Ocean Exploration Trust expedition to map underwater fault zones from Canada to California and understand ecosystems around them.