Thursday, January 29, 2009

Hawaiian bobtailed squid

Goal for the week 15.25 hours
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sand boxes


The Hawaiian bobtailed squid (Euprymna scolopes) is a tiny squid that only grows to a little over 1 inch in length and lives in tropical coastal Pacific areas. This squid sometimes lives in incredibly shallow water only 2-4 cm deep. The Hawaiian bobtailed squid is a short lived squid completing its life cycle in only 3 to 10 months. Given its unpredictable behavior it is also thought that it is quite intelligent. This squid has a symbiotic relationship with a light producing bacteria Vibrio fischeri. The squid has a light organ in it's mantle that it purposely infects with Vibrio fischeri. It feeds the bacteria with this organ and the bacteria produce a controlled amount of light from the bottom of the squid. This light helps it to avoid creating a silhouette that would tip off predatory fish to it's presence. Interestingly the bacteria in this light organ can give off 1000 times more light then that bacteria cultured independently. This symbiotic relationship seems to be in the process of being studied reasonably heavily at this time from what I can tell based on all of the online papers. This Vibrio bacteria is a harmless light producing species, however other Vibrio bacteria are responsible for shellfish poisoning and Cholera, so the study of the mechanisms of this symbiotic relationship may also be useful for human health studies. In the process of these studies they have also worked out how to breed this squid in captivity which is quite a challenge as squid require very difficult to produce water conditions.

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