By Amber Friend
Underwater predators use many tricky methods to lure potential prey close enough to attack and eat them. Two of the most common predatory adaptations for aquatic animals are physical alterations to their body to either disguise their appearance (camouflage) and/or the ability to make parts of their body glow in the dark (bioluminescence). Both of these tricks have multiple purposes. Camouflage helps potential prey hide from predators just as much as it helps predators blend into the background, waiting for prey to swim or float by. Bioluminescence can be used to lure prey to within attacking distance as well as communicate with other members of their species or as a visual threat to encroaching predators. But as we will see with the deep-sea squid, there are still many mysteries about how predators use their unusual body shapes to feed on prey.
Grimalditeuthis Bonplandi- Deep Sea Squid (video below)
The Grimalditeuthis bonplandi is unlike any other known squid, its tentacles do not have any suckers, hooks, or photophores. The Grimalditeuthis bonplandi is a slow swimmer with a weak, gelatinous body, its tentacles are long, thin and fragile. Although we do not know much about the Grimalditeuthis bonplandi, researchers believe the deep sea squid uses its tentacle tips as they flap and flutter as though swimming on their own to lure prey. It is believed the motion of these tentacle tips may induce small shrimp and other animals to approach within reach of the squid’s arms. Researchers have yet to see a Grimalditeuthis bonplandi catch its prey. Due to this, they still do not know how exactly G. bonplandi feeds on any animals that it attracts using its “swimming” tentacle tips, but their detailed observations provide yet another example of the improbable survival strategies of the deep sea.