FAMILY : SPIRULIDAE
Spirula spirula
(Linne, 1758)

This little shell can be very common on most beaches when the on-shore winds are blowing. It is
actually the internal shell of the "Light Tail squid", a squid-like cephalopod that inhabits the deeper
water of many of the worlds oceans. They are decapods, with 8 arms and 2 longer tentacles,
all with suckers. The animal maintains a vertical position (with the head facing down) by means
of gas in the chambers of the shell. It normally goes down 550-700 m. during the day and rises
to a depth of about 100-300 m at night. When the animal dies the body decays and the
bouyant shell floats to the surface. The living animal is rarely observed and is the only
member of the family Spirulidae.


Lepas pectinata attached to Spirula shell


© All images Copyright 2013 Denis Riek. All rights reserved.