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A pop of red in the twilight zone

December 26, 2019

This bejeweled beauty is a strawberry squid (Histioteuthis reversa), sampled from the ocean twilight zone, a mysterious stratum of the ocean between the sunlit surface layer and extending down to about 1,000 meters (3,300 feet) deep. A member of the cock-eyed squid group, this cephalopod is so named for its mismatched eyes: The larger one looks up into the dim light, while the smaller one points downward to scan for flashes of bioluminescence, indicating a potential meal. It is also known as the reverse jewel squid due to photophores that resemble jewels covering its body. The strawberry squid is a source of food for many of the large apex predators–such as sperm whales and Risso’s dolphins–that dive down into the twilight zone to feed. (Photo by Paul Caiger, © Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

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