The BBC sure loves cephalopod stories! This week we’ve got one about Humboldt Squid. The authors of the paper in Progress in Oceanography managed to capture 71 squids and subject them to different levels of oxygen to see how they do. Turns out they can slow down their metabolism in a low oxygen environment, stay out of the reach of predators, and just chill until they are ready to hunt again.
That’s right, they can be patient. And wait for the right moment to take over mankind.
Here’s a Humboldt squid in a staring contest with the ROV Tiburon that took the photo:
I think the squid is winning.
This story reminds me of two other favorite animal behaviors of mine.
One is the Andean Hillstar, a hummingbird that hibernates every night because yeah, it’s cold in the Andes. Sad or cute? I learned about this bird from the most excellent documentary series Life of Birds, with David Attenborough, who’s also known as the guy whose voice gets replaced by someone else, say Oprah or Sigourney Weaver, when his documentaries get aired in the United States. There’s a video about the Andean Hillstar on the BBC website that unfortunately I cannot view but maybe some of you can. But here’s a photo of one of these little beauties, taken by Tor Egil Høgsås.
The second is the tardigrade, which is probably my favorite non-mollusk invertebrate. These ridiculously cute little creatures go into a dormant state known as a tun whenever life gets to be too much for them. You know, like when they’re exposed to the vacuum and radiation of outer space.
The Goldstein Lab at UNC Chapel Hill take the best pictures of these jolly beasties.
Metabolisms! Weird fun stuff.