Life is hard for the mighty cephalopod. “If you’re a cephalopod, you’re super easy to eat,” says Sarah McAnulty, a squid biologist. “You’re basically a swimming protein bar.”
She studies a species of cephalopod called the Hawaiian bobtail squid. While most cephalopods have flashy adaptations to stay off predators’ dinner menus this particular squid relies on something that many other cephalopods don’t—its bacteria BFF.
Although some invading bacteria are destroyed by cells within the bobtail, their immune systems can learn to recognize “beneficial bacteria,” or bacteria that is ignored, and may even receive help from the immune system if it proves helpful to the livelihood of the animal. Learn more about the Bobtail squid’s BFF in the latest Macroscope video!