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Vampire squid is the garbage disposal of the ocean, says a study


New study said that vampire squids act as the ocean's garbage disposal, with the creature feeding on feces and debris.


Yoshikazu Tsuno

Before Rolling Stone's 2010 article by Matt Taibbi comparing Goldman Sachs to a vampire squid, few knew that such an animal even existed.

Now a new study seeks to add a few more facts to our growing body of knowledge on the unfortunately named gelatinous critter.

Researchers said that the squid is also the ocean's garbage dump, consuming feces and debris wherever it is found, said Discovery News.

It does not, however, suck blood as its name suggests.

Researchers say that this is only known cephalopod (squids, octopi, cuttlefish are all members) that does not hunt prey for its food.

"It's the first record of a cephalopod that doesn't hunt for living prey," study author Henk-Jan Hoving, of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute in California, told LiveScience.

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The creature lazily uses its eight long tendrils and two filaments to catch floating pieces of debris for sustenance, while its cephalopod friends go hunting other sealife for their food.

Wired said that Vampyroteuthis infernalis (literally "the squid from hell") lives at such low depths of the ocean there is little marine life to feed on.

Thus, it is forced to eat what is euphemistically termed "marine snow."

“(It) reveals a unique adaptation that allows these animals to spend most of their life at depths where oxygen concentrations are very low, but where predators are few and typical cephalopod food is scarce,” the study authors wrote.

The findings were published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.