Friday Cephalopod: Iron Squid

Sepioteuthis sepioidea

Since I saw Iron Man last night (short review: AWESOME!!!), I thought I’d try to find a cephalopod with a similar red and gold color scheme…and didn’t get very close. But this one does have the sleek look of a rocket-propelled machine, so it will have to do.

Figure from Cephalopods: A World Guide (amzn/b&n/abe/pwll), by Mark Norman.


  1. bunnycatch3r says

    Beautiful speciman… kinda makes me wish I were a cephalopod…just for one day. Maybe on a first date or for a job interview –first impressions are so important.

  2. says

    Can we have this in Wallpaper format? (1024×768)???

    I wonder if anyone remembers the OpenGL screensaver with the sharks and cetaceans swimming around the screen (big whales lumbering, sharks gliding, dolphins racing)? What would be really cool would be a squid version of that :o)

  3. bunnycatch3r says

    “speciman”– misspelling on my part. Spelling is just one of the many things I fail at. However, if I were a cephalopod!! The world would indeed be my oyster.

  4. says

    In re: Emmett #8:

    I remember a couple of fish tank screensavers that were really cool.

    I second your notion of squids…

    “Fiat justitia, ruat caelum”

  5. Mikey M says


    Ten arms to hold you, and writes you love letters in homemade ink!

  6. Rey Fox says

    Even PZ likes the Iron Man movie. Guess I’ll have to see it.

    In the cheap theater, of course.

  7. Zhaaniya says

    ooh…science fictiony! Reminds me of “Farscape”.

    Well, heck! What doesn’t?! Farscape has darn near ’bout everything!

    (Have I ever mentioned that my skin is blue?)

  8. Mena says

    This is kind of off topic but a friend sent it to me today and it does include a giant squid. Well, considering that they mentioned “great whites” when they were showing an orca I’ll take it with a grain of salt unless someone here can confirm that it is indeed a giant squid.

  9. says

    What a lovely little guy. Now we just need to build some squid-fitting power armor and our cephalopodish brethren can walk among us. MWAHAHAHA!

  10. Patricia C. says

    Thanks for this beautiful, calm picture. I needed it after the roiling dust up yesterday. I’m still exhausted.

  11. aiabx says

    Iron man was awesome. Who knew Robert Downey Jr. could play a debauched playboy so well?

  12. Lisa J says

    I’m off to see Iron Man tonight. I’m glad you folks liked it… it’s been a while since a good movie has been playing in theatres. Well, besides that ‘Expelled’ masterpiece. That was glorious!

  13. Longtime Lurker says

    Once again, you have me jonesing Norman’s book… funny that the guy who wrote those Gor novels would be so knowledgeable about cephalopods.

  14. Ichthyic says

    The world would indeed be my oyster.

    If you were a cephalopod the world would be your pelecypod?

    all this talk about molluscs; better get myself to a french restaurant and order me up some gastropod.

  15. Ichthyic says

    Who knew Robert Downey Jr. could play a debauched playboy so well?


    yeah, shocker!

  16. Ichthyic says


    nope, that was an octopus.

    Yeah, yeah, I know, you’re shocked the disco channel got something wrong.


  17. Bride of Shrek says


    I think that actually is a Great White, just one with an unusually strong grey/white contrast. If you pause the vid and move it frame by frame you can see it hasn’t got a fluke but a tail. But I’ll defer to Ichthyic’s opinion- he’s the fishy one.

  18. Ichthyic says

    actually, what he is referring to is the part of the vid where someone mentions loving giant squids.

    scroll to exactly 45 seconds in.

    there is an octopus on the screen while someone is singing about loving giant squids.

    the Carcharadon is far earlier in the clip (though you are right that it IS a white shark).

  19. Mena says

    Thanks, I learned a couple of new things today. I always thought that great whites were all a light gray, probably because of Jaws. So that’s an octopus, not even a squid? Hmmm, I guess that they needed something to rhyme with “arachnid”. My husband hasn’t watched it yet, maybe I had better not mention any of this to him because he is such a stickler for proper usage of terms he would freak out. I don’t think that he would wonder about the species stuff because he’s a computer/physics geek and doesn’t really care about taxonomy.

  20. Ichthyic says

    So that’s an octopus, not even a squid?

    ayup, if you look closely, you will see no tentacles, only arms.

    …and exactly 8 of those.

  21. Ichthyic says

    I always thought that great whites were all a light gray, probably because of Jaws.

    nope, whites are darker up top, light underneath.

    the dark color helps to mask them as they move close the bottom in reef areas, scanning the surface for their favorite pinniped prey items.

    the light color helps break up their outline when seen from below.

    the pattern is known as countershading:

    that wiki article ain’t all that great, but it covers the basics ok.

    here’s another basic coverage:

  22. Bride of Shrek says


    There’s a very cool documentary about Great Whites that was filmed, I think around South Africa(although everyone knows Australian Great Whites can kick South African Great White arse- one fin tied behind their backs). I’ll try and find a link to it but basically it showed them in all their awesomeness and beauty. They explained the colour thing in it ( and that Jaws pretty much had it wrong) and also stunned me by showing how high they could jump out of the water.

  23. Ichthyic says

    (although everyone knows Australian Great Whites can kick South African Great White arse- one fin tied behind their backs)


    they ain’t got nothin’ on California Whites!

    The white shark jumping footage was taken for that BBC nature documentary (that Discovery Channel “bought” and killed with rewrites and Sigourney Weaver)that came out a year ago called Planet Earth.