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Behold the Elegance and Horror of a Nearly Invisible Squid

Researchers recently captured video of a glass squid in the wild.

Squid are wondrous and terrifying by turns, and it seems like scientists regularly discover some strange new variety or learn some vaguely frightening new details about them. So it should come as little surprise—despite being quite surprising—that researchers have recently captured video of a remarkable squid that is largely see-through.

As shared on Laughing Squid, the Ocean Exploration Trust’s Nautilus science vessel recently recorded a gorgeous cockatoo squid in the wild. Also known, for obvious reasons, as a “glass squid,” the animal is almost totally translucent, but gets the former, colorful name from the crown of dark, stubby tentacles atop its mantle, which resembles the crest of a cockatoo.

Their bodies are filled with an ammonia solution that provides a remarkably clear look at the only visible internal organ, a “cigar-shaped digestive gland.” But, like other varieties of squid, they can use the chromatophores in their skin to change color to signal or blend in as needed.

The squid was found a little more than 1,600 feet deep, in the Salish Sea in the North Pacific, where the squid are rather common, according to researchers. Though glass squid are not the rarest animals in the region, such clear and vivid video of one is a special sight. And for anyone who suffers from thalassophobia, invisible squid are just another wonder to worry about.