(a follow up to this recent post with all my added notes, annotations, links and such, you might learn a few things (my apologies in advance)
I don’t always annotate but when I do it is dos equis…)
the one and only last of the kind
the singular leaf left
on the branch of an evolutionary tree *(1)
born to dive where there is no light *(2)
no ink to blot the story right *(3)
a true blue blood but not a king *(4)
with the largest eyes in all the realms *(5)
can invert one self into a crown of thorns *(6)
or display luminous blasts from photophores *(7)
perhaps a dash and a sprint
but no marathons happen at these depths *(8)
even so with fearsome name and look
no drop of blood shall pass *(9)
this denizen of the deepest ocean
feeds on falling snow *(10)
of the lighted world
so far removed
1. The Vampire Squid is what as known as “phylogentic relict” (I know, say that ten times fast, excellent term though), basically this guy is the last surviving member or it’s particular order (or limb out on the ole’ evolutionary branch, there are many dead ends on these branches). The order that this creature is a part of is called Vampyromorphida (if that isn’t a name for a future horror movie, I don’t know what is, at least give me credit when you write it).
2. These buggers inhabit what is known as the Oxygen Minimum Zone which can have oxygen concentrations as love as 3% (by comparison you are breathing in about 21%).
3. This creature is sort of an early hybrid between an octopus and a squid, however, it can not spray ink for self defense.
4. They literally have blue blood, unlike our hemoglobin their blood uses hemocyanin to carry oxygen through their bodies. Of course blue blood is a play on human royalty. The origins of the term are quite up in the air but it generally stems from the exclusivity of royal blood lines (ahem, inbreeding) and actual physical appearance (you can see royal’s veins more clearly as they tended to stay out of the sun, the common folk toiled out in the sun, not the blue bloods).
5. Compared to body size these little guys have huge eyes, to take in any bit of light they might grab at these depths. Proportionally speaking they are among the largest in the animal kingdom.
6. When threatened the Vampire Squid will nearly turn itself inside out covering it’s head and showing off it’s spikes called cirri. The spikes are just for show though, no danger there (they are fleshy, check out the excellent video below all my blathering). You can say it looks like a ‘crown of thorns‘ which of course is a reference to the sacrifice of Jesus so I am inferring that concept here as the animals literally “turn the other cheek” so to speak.
7. Like many creatures at this depth they can project bio luminous displays from organs called photophores. They can also eject a bio-luminescent mucus full of orbs like a mini fireworks display. However the metabolic cost is high as food is so scarce at these depths the creature would much rather swim away. (and footnote I had to correct the term to photophores from “photo-spores”, my bad, I make mistakes, it happens, but either way it rhymes with thorns… so… there)
8. The squid has relatively weak musculature so it can only swim off in bursts so it relies more on trickery and strange trajectory. It can not maintain top speed for very long at all.
9. Even with such a fierce name this is quite the tame beast, definitely not some bloodsucking denizen of the night as the name might suggest. The name was based on how it looked (which probably helped it survive this long).
10. “Marine Snow” is a term for all the organic junk that floats down from the surface area. The younger squids most likely feed mostly on this, as they get older they will feed on any detritus that might drift on by, really not much different than the snow.
More video of this amazing creature…