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Vampire squid

8th July, 2024 Environment

Vampire squid

Source: Wion

Disclaimer: Copyright infringement not intended.


  • Another type of vampire squid identified as Vampyroteuthis pseudoinfernalis is found in the South China Sea, near Hainan Island.


Key Points

  • A second species of vampire squid is Vampyroteuthis pseudoinfernalis which was identified in the year 2016 off the coast if Hainan Island, China and the depth range of 1584-1981 meters.
  • The first species, Vampyroteuthis infernalis was first described back in 1903 by a German marine biologist by the name Carl Chun.
  • It needs to be noted that both of these species are regarded as vampires and are a part of the order Vampyromorphida; they live in deep temperate and tropical zones.

Key Characteristics of Vampire Squid:

  • Bioluminescent Organs:
    • Organs used in light emission for direction finding and luring of values.
  • Oxygen Metabolism:
    • Adaptations of oxygen metabolism for successfully living in conditions with low levels of oxygen.
  • Two Long Retractile Filaments:
    • Two longitudinal retractile filaments between the first two pairs of arms.
  • Size and Colour:
    • Small, maximum of 30 cm (as much as 1 foot) long and possessing a gelatinous body, varies in colour from dark reddish-brown to jet black.
  • Large Eyes:
    • Big round accessorized eyes that are useful in poor lighting.

Key Differences Between Squid and Octopus:




Body Structure

Streamlined body with fins for propulsion

Rounded body without fins


Eight arms and two longer tentacles

Eight arms only (all similar length)


Pelagic (open ocean, throughout water column)

Benthic (seafloor dwellers)

Order Classification






Q. Consider the following statements about Vampire Squid (Vampyroteuthis infernalis):

1.They are closely related to octopuses and share the order Octopoda.

2.They possess a unique oxygen metabolism allowing them to thrive in deep-sea environments with low oxygen.

3.They have eight arms and two long tentacles, similar to squids.

Which of the statements given above are correct?

(a) 1 and 2 only

(b) 2 and 3 only

(c) 1 and 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3

Answer: (a)