Near the Juan de Fuca Canyon in the Salish Sea off of British Columbia, Exploration Vessel Nautilus spotted a small deep sea creature fluttering past its cameras. The team managed to film a cockatoo squid, called such for the way it carries its tentacles over its head like a cockatoo’s feathered crest. It's also called a glass squid because of its translucence.

Some 60 species of these translucent squid are found in the Pacific in deep ocean areas. This one is a Taonius borealis.

Not only do cockatoo squid look interesting, but their bodies are particularly odd. According to E/V Nautilus, “It retains ammonia solutions inside its body that give it a balloon-like shape and help it float. It has large eyes and pigment-filled cells, or chromatophores, that look like polka dots and serve as camouflage … Its transparent body clearly reveals a cigar-shaped digestive gland, though color-changing chromatophores flash reddish hues to help the squid blend in.”

Jaymi Heimbuch ( @jaymiheimbuch ) focuses on wildlife conservation and animal news from her home base in San Francisco.

Strange, see-through squid captured on camera
The cockatoo squid is a deep-water resident, and one floated right past the cameras of Exploration Vessel Nautilus.