While continuing to explore off the coast of Southern California, the ROV Hercules, launched from the E/V Nautilus, caught sight of a cartoonish purple stubby squid (bobtail squid) with big eyes that appeared to be painted onto his face. The crew offered some entertaining banter about “googly-eyes” and children’s toys, but the serious little cephalopod wanted no part at all.
The team spotted this Stubby Squid off the coast of California at a depth of 900 meters (2,950 feet). The stubby squid (Rossia pacifica) looks like a cross between an octopus and squid, but is more closely related to cuttlefish. This species spends life on the seafloor, activating a sticky mucus jacket and burrowing into the sediment to camouflage, leaving their eyes poking out to spot prey like shrimp and small fish. Rossia pacifica is found in the Northern Pacific from Japan to Southern California up to 300m, but in addition to our sighting, researchers at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) have spotted them at depths of 1,300 m (4,260 ft).