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13 vampire animals

By: Russell McLendon on Oct. 1, 2010, 11:30 a.m.
Vampire squid

Photo: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

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Vampire squid

With a Latin name that means "vampire squid from hell," it's safe to say Vampyroteuthis infernalis made a big impression on the first people who saw it. Scientists have even given it its own biological order, "Vampyromorphida," and deservedly so — the vampire squid is one of the most unique and mysterious animals on Earth, even if it's not technically a vampire.

It lives 3,000 feet deep in the ocean, and is thus rarely seen in its natural setting. It's tiny, often just 6 inches long, but has eyes like a large dog's; in fact, it has the biggest eye-to-body-size ratio of any animal, helping it see in the dim abyss. Like many deep-sea denizens, it can also glow and change colors, a trick known as "bioluminescence." It doesn't drink blood, instead earning its name for cape-like webbing it uses as a shield (see video below).