Roper, Clyde F. E. Division of Molluscs, Smithsonian Institution, U.S. National Museum, Washington, DC.
Last reviewed:January 2021
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An order of coleoid cephalopods that contains only one species, Vampyroteuthis infernalis. Vampyroteuthis infernalis (Fig. 1), which is commonly called the vampire squid, is characterized by a flat, broad, leaflike, chitinous internal shell (gladius); eight arms (which are connected by a deep web) around the mouth; no tentacles, but two small sensory filaments that retract into pockets between the bases of the first and second arms; fingerlike cirri and a single row of suckers with chitinous rings along the arms; one pair of paddle-shaped fins on the body in adults (two pairs at the juvenile stage); very dark maroon to mostly black pigmentation; and photophores (light-producing organs) on the body, head, and arms (Fig. 2). Members of the order Vampyromorpha (vampyromorphs) superficially resemble cirrate octopods, but they bear features that show distinct teuthoid (squid) relationships (for example, similar gladius, photophores, and radula). In many characteristics, they are intermediate between teuthoids and octopods. Fossil records indicate that the group is a descendant of Late Triassic or Jurassic forms. The sensory filaments between the first and second pairs of arms are unique among all cephalopods and are thought to be tactile organs. See also: Bioluminescence; Cephalopoda; Coleoidea; Octopoda; Teuthoidea
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