Squid, Dibranchiata

Sepia officinalis

Julian Jacobs, Departmental Administrator for the Department of Zoology writes:

The specimen I would like to nominate is the little squid “dibranchiata”. I find this pale, ghostly creature quite fascinating for a number of reasons. Like all cephalopods it has an other-wordly quality. It can adapt its colouration, it has a highly developed nervous system and advanced eyes. It apparently behaves cooperatively and suggests intelligence. An alien life-form from another planet could hardly look more astonishing! And small as it may be, this creature cannot fail to make you think of its terrifying big cousins. Scaled-up, this small and delicate creature becomes a terror of the deep, a deadly hunter possessed of fearsome suckers ad beak, a match for Sperm Whales 1000m below the surface of the sea. Fictionalized portrayals in Moby Dick and Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea may be exaggerated, but oddly enough their deep-water habitat has protected them from being properly filmed. So even in the age of Attenborough-style natural history filming, the squid whether large or small, retains a kind of mystery that prompts fear and wonder.

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