As beautiful as our home aquariums may be, most of us don’t have the money, space, or licenses to keep some of the world’s most exotic sea creatures. To see those, we have to make trips to some of the larger commercial aquariums of the world, such as the Vancouver Aquarium.
Last March, the Vancouver Aquarium began raising about 400 baby opalescent squidlings (or “paralarva” if you want to be technical). They’ve released some beautiful baby pictures of their little bundle of joy, which offer a rare up-close-and-personal look at the squid world.
Aww, adorable, aren’t they? Well, cute in a beautiful-but-I-still-don’t-want-to-touch-one kind of way.
They kind of remind me of fruitcake to be honest, or maybe pudding with chopped nuts floating around in it. Actually, that’s red-brown spots are individual chromatophore cells. Chromatowhat? Those are the cells that let squids, chameleons, and similar creatures change their colors. These particular squid will use their chromatophore cells to confuse predators, though after they experience a growth spurt and discover hair growing in new places, they’ll also use the cells to attract mates.
They’ll have to wait a bit longer before that’s a concern. Right now these baby squid are about the size of a single grain of rice. Normally these things can grow to be about a foot long, which makes them a scrumpuous meal for sea lions and dolphins.
These squid normally swim through the waters of the Pacific Ocean, jetting along the American coast as far south as Mexico and as far north as Alaska. Luckily, aquarium enthusiasts near Vancouver can get a chance to check out this beautiful species of squid. Just how beautiful is still up for debate — are these things living embodiments of otherworldly art, or do they have a face that only a mother could love?