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Vampire squid

By: Ethel Contreras 

Hsb 2  

Scientific classification: ​Vampyroteuthis infernalis 
KingDOM:​ Animalia
pHYLUM:​ Mollusca
cLASS:​ Cephalopoda
fAMILY: ​Vampyroteuthis
gENUS: ​Vampyroteuthis
SPECIES: ​V. infernalis


The vampire squid lives in extreme deep-sea conditions. It is an extreme

example of a deep-sea cephalopod and can be in depths from 600 to 900 meters or

more, which is known as the oxygen minimum zone. It is found in the deepest oceans of

the world with the most tropical and temperate regions. The vampire squid is able to

breathe and live normally in the minimum zone of oxygen at saturation as low as 3%,

many animals are not able to have this ability.

Since it is a deep-sea organism, it is difficult to study the vampire squid in their

natural environment. In order for the squid to live in suffocating depths, they develop

several adaptations. This includes their metabolic rate which is the lowest of all

deep-sea cephalopods, their blue blood hemocyanin binds transport oxygen more than

others as well.

Physical appearance: 

The vampire squid is around 30 cm and has a variety of colors including jet black

to pale reddish, depending on the location and lighting conditions. The vampire squid is

not an octopus neither a squid, scientists have categorized it as its own group. Its

webbing skin is connected to eight arms which are lined with rows of fleshy spines and

the inner side of its cloak is black. Its limpid, globular eyes either appear red or blue

depending on lighting, are the largest in the animal kingdom at 2.5 cm. Its name is

inspired by its dark color, coak webbing, and red eyes. Mature adults have a pair of

small fins that project the lateral sides of the mantle, these fins serve as the adults

primary means of propulsion.

The vampire squid moves through water by flapping its fins and their beak-like

jaws are white. It is also almost covered entirely in light-producing organs called

photophores, the photophores are larger and complex at the tips of the arms and at the

base of the two fins but are absent from the undersides of the caped arms.


It has not been exactly determined what the vampire squid eats, but it uses

thread-like filaments to capture bits of organic debris that sink down from the ocean

surface into the deep sea and only eat a couple times a week due to their low

metabolism but their jaws are extremely powerful. It can also be difficult to find food due

to its habitat. Young vampire squids do not eat for the first few weeks of their lives

because they are born with internal reserves of energy which is a type of yolk. Since the

organism lives in the deep waters of the ocean, it has very few predators. Some few

predators do include deep diving fishes, pinnipeds, whales, and benthopelagic fishes.



Vampire squids have internal fertilization, the male ejects sperm cells into the

females sac and the female releases eggs and cares for them until they hatch. The

gestation period usually lasts 13 months, the female does not eat during incubation and

dies of exhaustion as soon as the eggs hatch, it only reproduces once.

Survivability of organism 

Due to the warming of the ocean, pollution and destruction of natural habitats

negatively affect the number of remaining squids in the ocean. There has not been

much evidence found about the survivability of the vampire squid but they are

considered an ancient organism since it has been around for about 300 million years.

Humans do not hunt them since they are found in such deep oceans but they are taken

for research or accidentally captured by fishermen. There is not much to do to protect

this organism due to such climate changes in the ocean. 

Special features 

The vampire squid lacks ink sacs if the squid is disturbed it curls up its arms up

outwards and wraps them around its body turning itself inside out and exposing spiny

projections. If it is also very agitated it ejects a sticky cloud of bioluminescent mucus

that contains innumerable orbs of blue light from the arm tips. This serves to daze out

predators and allow the squid to disappear into blackness.


Vampire squids are known for their high intelligence because they can create

geometrical patterns on the ocean floor. They are also known for flying very fast through

the water.

Fun facts: 

- Its scientific name Vampyroteuthis infernalis means “vampire squid from hell”

- It has a lifespan of up to 8 years while other squids or octopus don't live beyond 1

or 2 years, but it has not been certain.

- Vampire squids were discovered in the 20th century but have been around for

about 300 million years

- Female vampire squids are larger than males

- When threatened they turn themselves inside out




Work cited 
Oceana, “Vampire Squid”, N.D,

Soft Schools, “Vampire Squid Facts,” N.D.

Encyclopedia of Life, “Vampyroteuthis Infernalis,” N.D.

Kim Reisenbichler, National Geographic, “Deep Sea Creatures Photos”, November 16,


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