Hiding in Plain Sight: Mimicry in a Juvenile Deep-Sea Squid

Vimeo Link: https://vimeo.com/148746137

YouTube Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ewQB9jaDah4&feature=player_detailpage

Team Members:

Ben Burford, Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute
Kyra Schlining, Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute


Scientists from the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) describe the first case of siphonophore mimicry by a cephalopod using video from remotely operated vehicles. Juveniles of the mesopelagic squid Chiroteuthis calyx were observed orienting and coloring their tail and body to closely match the common mesopelagic siphophore Nanomia. This mimicry is not consistent across life stages. As juveniles progress into the subadult life stage, they lose their tail, and therefore the ability to resemble Nanomia. It is likely that the smaller and more vulnerable juvenile Chiroteuthis avoid predation as a result of mimicking Nanomia’s appearance and behavior and simply hiding in plain sight.

Original Publication:

Burford, B.P., Robison, B.H. & Sherlock, R.E. 2014. Behaviour and mimicry in the juvenile and subadult life stages of the mesopelagic squid Chiroteuthis calyx. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom 95:1221-1235.

Link to publication: http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&aid=9882610&fileId=S0025315414001763

Support Provided by: The David and Lucile Packard Foundation


By the Numbers

Over 40,000 students in 50 US states, the US Virgin Islands, and 25 countries participated as judges in the 2016 Ocean 180 Video Challenge.