Marine Biology

, Volume 152, Issue 3, pp 485–494 | Cite as

Ink utilization by mesopelagic squid

  • Stephanie L. BushEmail author
  • Bruce H. Robison
Research Article


Remotely operated vehicle dive video recordings of deep-sea squid ink release were examined to determine species, ink release type, release depth, and accompanying behavior/s. Ink release was commonly observed between the surface and 1,842.1 m in Monterey Bay, CA, and surrounding waters. Six ink release types were observed: pseudomorphs, pseudomorph series, ink ropes, clouds/smokescreens, diffuse puffs and mantle fills. Each species released ink throughout all or most of its depth range; inking was not limited to shallow, sunlit waters. Individuals of each species produced one ink release type more commonly than other types, however, multiple ink types could be released by individuals of all species. Common behaviors preceded and/or followed each release type; pseudomorphs and pseudomorph series were generally associated with escape behaviors, while ink ropes, clouds, and puffs normally involved the animal remaining adjacent to or amid the ink. Deep-sea squids may use ink for defensive purposes similar to those of shallow-dwelling species when they release pseudomorphs, pseudomorph series, or large clouds, and may use ink puffs in intra-specific communication. The function of ink ropes and mantle fills is unknown.


Onyx Mantle Cavity Squid Species Diffuse Cloud Coleoid Cephalopod 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We would like to thank the pilots and crews of the ROV Ventana/RV Point Lobos and ROV Tiburon/RV Western Flyer for their assistance in obtaining squid observations. We are grateful to the staff of the MBARI video lab for their help in viewing videos and preparing images for the manuscript. We thank R. Caldwell, E. Griffen, C. Martinez, C. Huffard, B. Williams, and especially D. Greenwood for comments on various stages of the manuscript. This study was made possible by members of MBARI’s midwater lab, supported by the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, as well as a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship to S. Bush. The experiments comply with the current laws of the United States.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Monterey Bay Aquarium Research InstituteMoss LandingUSA
  2. 2.Department of Integrative BiologyUniversity of California at BerkeleyBerkeleyUSA

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