Vampire squid (Vampyroteuthis infernalis)
A sole survivor in the order Vampyromorphida, the vampire squid (Vampyroteuthis infernalis) is a living fossil that has remained basically unchanged since the age of dinosaurs, over 3 million years ago. Originally discovered in 1903, it was named the vampire squid from hell although it actually isn’t neither a vampire nor a squid.
The most distinctive feature of this science fiction-looking creature are unusually large deep blue or red eyes. In fact, the vampire squid has largest eyes relative to body in the entire animal kingdom. It has eight long arms with light producing organs covering the entire body. Vampyroteuthis has very good control over these organs which gives it unique ability to camouflage itself in order to avoid predators or disorientate prey by flashing, making it easier to capture.
Despite its intimidating appearance, the vampire squid is a smaller animal, reaching maximum length of 11 in (28 cm) with a 4 in (10 cm) long mantle. Human encounters are rare as they inhabit regions between 300 ft (90 m) and 3000 feet (900 m) below the sea surface.
The vampire squid captures prey, such as small shrimps, by surrounding them with the webbing between its arms. Once the victim is trapped, it is pushed inside towards the mouth. When it is threatened or startled, it curls its webbing around the entire body, forming a defensive web which confuses the predator.
The body composition of the vampire squid is similar to the one of a jellyfish. When it wants to move, it uses fin flapping and jet propulsion, reaching impressive speed of two body lengths per second. This is definitely one adapt survivor, as oxygen levels are very low in its environment and temperatures are often near the freezing point. It is neither threatened or dangerous to humans.