banded piglet squid

This adorable creature is the Banded Piglet Squid (Helicocranchia pfefferi). They’re found at depths of 100m or more, and that odd appearance of a smile is caused by skin pigmentation.

Very little is known about their biology. They have been observed upside down more often than not, but no one is sure why. They are kept buoyant by ammonium ions in their body fluids, and each animal has a large light producing organ below each of its eyes.

Image ©Cabrillo Marine Aquarium