Researchers find Pokémon-like googly-eyed squid on ocean floor

16 Aug 2016

The stubby squid. Screenshot via OET

The latest weird marine discovery has come off the coast of California, as a team of marine biologists have stumbled across what has been dubbed the ‘googly-eyed squid’.

The googly-eyed squid discovery was made by a team of researchers from the Ocean Exploration Trust (OET) aboard the Nautilus floating laboratory that has been making its way down the western coast of North America.

If the name Nautilus sounds familiar, it’s because this was the same ship and team that discovered the mysterious purple orb off the Channel Islands, which are not far from the shores of California.

While in that instance the team admitted it might be years before the strange-looking creature could be properly identified, this latest Pokémon-like squid was quickly identified by the marine biologists.

Called the stubby squid (rossica pacifica), its cartoon-like characteristics come from its huge eyes, which one of the marine biologists in the team’s video described as looking “so fake”.

“This species spends life on the seafloor, activating a sticky mucus jacket and burrowing into the sediment to camouflage, leaving their eyes poking out to spot prey like shrimp and small fish,” the team said.

This particular discovery was made 2,950ft below sea level but the creatures are typically found in the northern Pacific from Japan to southern California and, despite the region’s proximity to the American coast, the OET team has said that much of the ocean floor remains unmapped and unexplored.

In the meantime, cephalopods like the stubby squid are entering a golden age as, with the onset of climate change, their numbers are increasing thanks to warming oceans.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic