Vampire squids from HELL! And other cool Kraken news

Kraken News this week mainly showcases footage of fearsome tentacled critters, in all their suckered glory. Let’s start with the awe-inspiring Vampire squids from hell.

What? There are Vampire Squids in hell?

Well, no. But you can never go past the most brilliantly (mis)named of all cephalopods, Vampiroteuthis infernalis (literally, the “Vampire squid from hell”). Despite its terrifying name, it is a very sweet, rather small and shy creature living in the abyssal depths. It is neither a squid nor an octopus, but something else entirely – a Vampyromorphida, the only one of its kind. We shall devote a whole blog post to this glorious critter in the future but for now, marvel in its shiny, gorgeous colours and the shapes it throws for the EVNautilus crew:

We have recently answered the question “Are Kraken aliens?” which didn’t stop some people equating cuttlefish with creatures from outer space. Though – whatever, that cuttle’s been smoking, sure seems to be from another dimension!

Talking of cool Kraken videos that went viral, there is this Octopus vulgaris (literally, “the common 8-footer”) scaring the bejesus out of some unsuspecting diver:

Camouflage level 9000

But right now, there is only one Kraken show in town!

Never to be outdone, Blue Planet 2, the BBC team that brings us marine lovers the equivalent of crack cocaine for a hardcore addict, goes one up on the octopus that had a mutually-beneficial symbiosis with a grouper last week. Yes, they filmed another Octopus vulgaris using tools to cover itself in shells to escape a shark predator. There is a great behind-the-scenes article that describes this clever critter, the ‘star’ of the show that was filmed for a whole year.

As if that wasn’t AWESOME enough (these are invertebrates, people!), she then gets her own back with the pesky shark.

There is also a lovely little behind-the-scenes story to when they filmed the eels and Sally Lightfoot crabs – and how suddenly:

But while filming the crabs we were also taken by surprise. Walking past a pool I was grabbed by 8 tentacles covered in suckers that exploded from the water. Octopus were also hunting crabs so any movement above triggered their attacks – even on something 6 feet tall. Their enthusiasm for attacking us allowed us to pinpoint their positions and so we were able to film them attacking crabs as well. So we ended up with two predators for the price of one.

Blue Planet 2 continues its tradition of bringing us some of the most mind-blowing Kraken footage and behaviour ever seen. Check out these giant cuttlefish and how sneaky they are to get some nookie. The Daily Star couldn’t help itself and called it “the deviant dragster”. Note that this male did not change gender, it just tricked the other male into thinking he was a female.

And after all that deviously-derived nookie, we get the utter glory that is Kraken babies, as filmed by this Krakenologist:

And finally…

For the fossil super nerds among us, you cannot go past a headline like this: “If you liked the Cambrian Explosion, you’ll love the Ordovician Radiation“. The summary for the less nerdy-inclined is that The Ordovician Radiation (~480mya) saw a quadrupling of diversity. This included the emergence of our favourite fearsome predators: the cephalopods. Even though the world’s first mass extinction event soon drew an end to all this fabulous new period of life, the cephalopods fortunately survived the past 400 million+ years, to fight and feed another day.

Lastly, as if we hadn’t learned that using the Kraken for rollercoasters wasn’t a good idea, here’s another amusement park where the Kraken fought back.

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