Animal Type
Maximum Size

7.5 cm

(3 inches) mantle length


600–2,000 m

(2,000–6,600 feet)



in the twilight (mesopelagic) and midnight (bathypelagic) zones






This mom is a pelagic parent.

Female squids of most species reproduce by depositing egg cases on the seafloor or releasing eggs in a gelatinous mass that drifts in open water. While exploring the depths of Monterey Bay in 2005, MBARI researchers encountered a female deep-sea squid (Bathyteuthis berryi) carrying a sheet of eggs in her arms.

Brooding is common among bottom-dwelling octopuses, but scientists have only observed this behavior in three squid species, all found in the deep sea. Scientists think this type of parental care helps a mother squid improve her hatchlings’ chances for survival. MBARI researchers suspect other deep-dwelling squids may also be brooders.

The deep sea is challenging to study, and we only get brief glimpses into the behaviors of deep-sea animals. MBARI’s archive of thousands of hours of underwater video has helped illuminate life in the largest living space on Earth. MBARI researchers can document remarkable new species and observe how deep-sea animals feed, escape predators, and reproduce. Each observation logged by our ROVs provides another piece to the puzzle and helps improve our understanding of life in the ocean’s mysterious depths.


Video Clips


Bush, S.L., H.J.T. Hoving, C.L. Huffard, B.H. Robison, and L.D. Zeidberg. 2012. Brooding and sperm storage by the deep-sea squid Bathyteuthis berryi (Cephalopoda: Decapodiformes). Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom, 92: 1629–1636.

Seibel, B.A., S.K. Goffredi, J.J. Childress, E.V. Thuesen, and B.H. Robison. 2004. Ammonium content and buoyancy in midwater cephalopods.. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, 313: 375–387.