Caribbean Reef Squid, Sepioteuthis sepioidea, Squids

 Good morning from Curacao, I have been going thru old squid photos this week and found another for your viewing pleasure. It seems like every time we send out squid or octopus photos we get the most replies from our readers and really they are my hands down favorite creature to see on any given dive. Caribbean Reef Squid are largely piscovorous (means feeds of fish) and wait for their prey to approach them during the day. At night, they are more active hunters. Captured prey are generally a few centimeters long, depending upon the size of the squid. In feeding, fish are transported to the mouth by the arms where they are bitten behind the head and secured until eaten. These arms are lined with sharp hooks, corresponding to adapted sucker-rings. The tip of the arms have a cluster of smoother suckers, while the clubs at the ends of the longer tentacles have both connective tubercles and smooth suckers. The squid will feed on the flesh and internal organs of the fish but discard the head, tail, vertebrate column, and ribs. When out hunting, these squid will employ a number of very clever techniques. Individuals may raise their central upper arms to lure potential curious predators. Another method, presently exclusive to Caribbean Reef Squid, involves hiding their tentacles from the vision of their prey until the time to attack. At this time, tentacles are rapidly extended past the limit of the longest arms. Also, squid can bend their tentacles in a hooking v-pattern to aid in capturing smaller prey. In addition, upon approaching food a squid may twist and spiral its tentacles in hopes of confusing its prey. During the day, they live in large and organized groups but are never close together and usually equally spaced apart. This species does not cooperatively drive its prey but may compete with one another for food at times. They remain closely bunched and will strike at prey generally one at a time then fall back into line with the group. However, they are known to exhibit cannibalistic activity. When ready to feed, they have been observed anchoring themselves, and remain very still, by the arm tips on the seafloor bottom and wait for the appearance of its prey. The fish captured are primarily sardines, dwarf herring, false prichard, red, and hardhead silversides. Other prey include shrimp, mysids, and mollies. Food selection is of greatest important to the survival of young squid. In isolated studies, newly hatched squid were very selective in choosing prey but flourished upon large amounts of mysid crustaceans. Juveniles and adults also capture small planktonic animals (copepods) and small arthropods, something I have never seen yet as a photographer. Have a wonderful day, Barry MORE: Caribbean Reef Squid, Sepioteuthis sepioidea, Squids

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