Cute Purple Critter on Ocean Floor Charms Scientists

Exploration vessel Nautilus encountered the squid off the coast California
By Elizabeth Armstrong Moore,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 17, 2016 6:00 PM CDT

It looks for all the world "like some little kid dropped their toy," as one scientist jokes. But, no, that adorable purple creature with giant, googly eyes spotted on the bottom of the ocean is, in fact, a stubby squid called Rossia pacifica. Researchers in the exploration vessel E/V Nautilus were navigating off the coast of Southern California when they came upon the creature whose eyes "look painted on," as one of the scientists describes it, reports Live Science. (See the video here.) The species of bobtail squid native to the northern Pacific typically dwells at depths of 1,000 feet—this one was much deeper—and are rare enough that the scientists initially mistook it for a cuttlefish.

The team later confirmed that it's a stubby squid, and that it comes with an "awesome superpower" of being able to engulf itself in a sticky jacket through which it can collect sand and pebbles for camouflage—since that purple is such a dead giveaway. This stunned-looking squid was seen at a depth of nearly 3,000 feet, reports Time, and one scientist says other stubby squid sightings have resulted in a similar deer-in-the-headlights reaction: "I think what we encountered was a squid who was not expecting to see us in any way." (Another weird find on the ocean floor: this purple blob.)

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