Squid suckers

This photo won an honorable mention in the Science and Engineering Visualization Challenge. They were robbed! Grand prize or they’ll rip the judges’ faces off!

Squidsuckers: The Little Monsters That Feed the Beast
Credit: Jessica D. Schiffman and Caroline L. Schauer, Drexel University
Crunch. The satisfying sound of a crushed cockroach comes from the destruction of its chitin-based exoskeleton. The white, fanglike circles in this electron micrograph of squid suckers are also chitin, but they are not so easily crushed. Their scant 400-micrometer diameter belies the true power of the suckers. A squid uses them to latch onto prey and force the unfortunate creature to its beak, where it is readily slurped down. “They’re just tiny things, but they really keep the beast alive,” says Jessica Schiffman, a doctoral student in material science engineering at Drexel University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She compiled the image while researching chitin properties in the lab of Caroline Schauer. The iconic film Little Shop of Horrors inspired the color scheme, she says.


  1. speedwell says

    They look like they were knitted in green, white, and burgundy yarn, with papoer-mache teeth. Maybe Miss Skatje could help you with a model. heh.

  2. Crudely Wrott says

    Wow. Imagine having the inside of your arms lined with Langoliers!

    “You cannot escape my embrace, my tender morsel. Never!”

  3. Ichthyic says

    What?! I thought that was a photo of the Molly winners.

    naw, like I said before, I have more rows of teeth than that.

  4. CMurdock says

    Two comments saying they look like Cthulhu? Do you even know what Cthulhu’s supposed to look like??? NOTHING like this.

  5. Sven DiMilo says

    False-colored SE micrographs like this piss me off. Once you start making decisions about a “color scheme” it doesn’t count as science any more, in my book.

  6. amphiox says

    Don’t be such a curmudgeon, Sven.

    If the color scheme was intended to help analyze or convey information, then it might be science. If it was intended to please the eye, then it is art.

    This is art. Based on science. What’s wrong with that?

  7. SC says

    Did anyone notice the “Visualizing The Bible” honorable mention in the Illustration category? What does that have to do with visualizing science?

  8. says

    Hey I saw that picture a few days ago and my first thought was to send you the link, but after never hearing back from you on the last pic I sent or seeing it here I figured you’d never see the email anyway. You need a super secret atheist email addy.

  9. Escuerd says

    I had to immediately check the comments to see how many other people thought of the Langoliers when they saw this.

  10. Sven DiMilo says

    That was…odd.

    I have no problem with “art” of any kind. I just don’t think it’s the same thing as “visualizing science.”
    But I’ll cop to the curmudgeon thing.