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Behaviour and mimicry in the juvenile and subadult life stages of the mesopelagic squid Chiroteuthis calyx

  • Benjamin P. Burford (a1), Bruce H. Robison (a1) and Robert E. Sherlock (a1)


Cephalopods are common inhabitants of the deep ocean's mesopelagic zones worldwide, yet very little is known about their behaviour due to the inaccessibility of this environment. Recent studies suggest that, contrary to historical predictions, deep-sea cephalopods exhibit a wide array of visual behaviours. We used in situ footage from remotely operated vehicles, coupled with laboratory observations to assemble the first behavioural ethogram for the juvenile and subadult life stages of the mesopelagic squid, Chiroteuthis calyx. The number of behavioural components we described is comparable to or exceeds those recognized in ethograms of shallow-water teuthids. We used the ethogram to make a detailed behavioural comparison between the juvenile and subadult life stages, and found distinctly different patterns. Behavioural and morphological differences between the two life stages support the hypothesis that juvenile C. calyx mimic the abundant siphonophore Nanomia bijuga, in order to deter predation.


Corresponding author

Correspondence should be addressed to: B.P. Burford, Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, 7700 Sandholdt Rd., Moss Landing, CA 95039, USA email:


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Behaviour and mimicry in the juvenile and subadult life stages of the mesopelagic squid Chiroteuthis calyx

  • Benjamin P. Burford (a1), Bruce H. Robison (a1) and Robert E. Sherlock (a1)


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