From the team at BBC Wildlife Magazine

Baby squid photo is a winner

An image of a 1.5cm-long cephalopod is a finalist in a science competition.

Published: March 21, 2017 at 4:58 pm
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The results of the Wellcome Image Awards 2017 have been announced and they include a picture of a baby Hawaiian bobtail squid.


Each year the competition showcases a variety of scientific photographs and illustrations.

Mark Smith took the photo of the cephalopod to go in an exhibit at the Connecticut State Museum of Natural History.

“This is our second winning image in the Wellcome competition and we are equally as thrilled as before,” said Smith.


The winning squid image alongside a photograph showing the size of the baby squids © Mark Smith and Annette Evans / Macroscopic Solutions

Scientists from the Nyholm laboratory at the University of Connecticut are studying the interactions between the Hawaiian bobtail squid and the bioluminescent bacterium which live within one of the squid’s organs.

This squid species is a nocturnal predator, which hunts for shrimp near coral reefs.

The light organ on its underside houses a colony of glowing bacteria, which it uses as a form of camouflage called counter-illumination.

The silhouette of the squid is masked by using the bioluminescence to match moonlight and starlight, and it is hidden from other predators swimming below it.

The amount of light released from the light organ is controlled by the squid’s ink, enabling it to adjust to variable light conditions such as cloudy nights.

The Wellcome Image Awards aim to recognise eye-catching images of science, medicine and life.


View all the winning images in the 2017 Wellcome Image Awards, or the images featured in the museum exhibition.


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