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The Elusive Bobtail Squid
Video courtesy of the NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research, Windows to the Deep 2019. Download larger version (mp4, 43.7 MB).

This bobtail "squid" was seen swimming through the water column before landing on the seafloor during Dive 15 of the expedition. Belonging to the cephalopod order Sepiolida, these animals are generally known as "bobtail squids" because of their rounded bodies. Although called squids, bobtails have long been considered to be modified cuttlefishes that have lost the internal shell (cuttlebone). However, recent evidence from DNA sequencing indicates that they are not closely related to either squids or cuttlefishes, although they are in the broad group of 10-armed cephalopods. No matter who they are related to, bobtails are pretty cute!

Caption adapted from this mission log by Mike Vecchione, NOAA/National Marine Fisheries Service National Systematics Lab, National Museum of Natural History.

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