Ram's horn squid (Spirula spirula)
Members of the genus Spirula are decapods characterized by suckered appendages, including 8 arms and 2 longer tentacles. They are somewhat squid-like in appearance, and young individuals can completely withdraw the head and all extremities into the mantle. Adults measure 30 to 45 mm in length, and can only retract the cephalic area halfway into the mantle.
The skin is reddish-brown and smooth. Members of the genus Spirula have a large photophore (bioluminescent light organ) at the posterior end of the mantle which is surrounded by two small, round fins. The photophore can remain illuminated for several hours.
The shell of Spirula spirula in entirely enclosed in the mantle. It is divided into approximately 25 to 37 chambers connected by a siphuncle. This shell serves as a hydrostatic system, allowing and animal to control its buoyancy. The shell is located in the posterior half of the mantle, and its buoyancy pattern results in a characteristic "head down" positioning often observed in Spirula.