The ocean conceals an enigmatic realm filled with awe-inspiring wonders and extraordinary creatures. Consider, for instance, the endearing character that is currently winning over the hearts of countless online users.
This charmingly bizarre creature is none other than the piglet squid, scientifically known as Helicocranchia pfefferi. This diminutive marvel was discovered by a team of intrepid deep-sea explorers near the Palmyra Atoll, submerged approximately 4,544 feet beneath the surface in the Pacific Ocean. Marine scientists have released a captivating video capturing the presence of this unusual critter, the piglet squid, gracefully drifting through the central Pacific Ocean near the Palmyra Atoll.
The squid was spotted at a depth of around 4,544 feet (1,385 meters) below the ocean’s surface, aboard the research vessel (E/V) Nautilus. This research vessel, along with remotely operated vehicles, and the associated expeditions, is made possible by the nonprofit Ocean Exploration Trust. “What are you?” one of the voices in the video can be heard asking as the small creature comes into view. “Is that a squid? I think it’s a squid. It resembles a bloated squid with petite tentacles and a small cap that’s swaying. Moreover, it appears to possess an inflated mantle cavity of considerable size. I’ve never encountered anything quite like this before.”
This vivid description aptly characterizes the piglet squid, renowned for its siphon that curiously resembles the snout of a young pig. Piglet squids, like all cephalopods, boast bodies that diverge remarkably from those of the land-dwelling creatures we are accustomed to. Instead of having their limbs and head connected to a central, organ-containing body, as described by Sy Montgomery in her book “The Soul of an Octopus,” their limbs and body, or “mantle,” protrude from a central head.
The piglet squid’s distinctive mantle-to-legs ratio is partly attributed to its mode of locomotion in the water. According to Nautilus scientists, the mantle is filled with ammonia, which the squid employs to regulate its buoyancy. Ammonia, as previously reported by Live Science, is a common chemical on Earth but hazardous to humans.
This Nautilus expedition is part of a concerted effort to explore the deep-sea waters of the Marine National Monument, encompassing Kingman Reef, Palmyra Atoll, and Jarvis Island, among the most remote U.S.-controlled territories. Nautilus routinely yields high-quality footage of remarkable creatures from the depths.