Quirky Piglet Squid in Hawaiian Waters

There are few sea creatures as quirky as the piglet squid (Helicocranchia pfefferi)! Our Corps of Exploration spotted this individual around 980 meters deep while at the top of the South Point Pinnacles seamount exploring geological features near Moku 'o Keawe (Hawai'i Island). Semi-translucent with big eyes and large tentacles, this tiny animal only grows to about 8 or 10 cm. Piglet squids descend to the mesopelagic zone as they mature and exhibit diel vertical migration like many other zooplankton and animals in the ocean’s twilight zone. 


The Hawaiian Islands are part of the oldest, longest, and most remote island chains on Earth, and have been a key natural laboratory for many important scientific discoveries. Our NA156 telepresence-enabled expedition will conduct ROV surveys across some of the most dramatic deep-sea habitats surrounding the Main Hawaiian Islands, and test a new wide-field camera array system across a wide range of complex topographical features. 

Learn more about this expedition funded by the Office of Naval Research.