Sex, Drugs and Sea Slime

By Ellen Prager

Among the organisms of the oceans that are armed and dangerous, there is one elite group of jetsetters that grow fast and are blessed with brains, looks, and a talent for disguise. Though most don’t live long, they can react with lightning-quick speed and deploy amazing defensive countermeasures. They are the stars of film and literature, playing oversized and aggressive monsters with a killer appetite. Most of the oceans’ cephalopods, however, are not out for a fight; when trouble calls, the majority of squids, cuttlefishes, and octopuses prefer to hide or run away. They are also much stranger in fact than in fiction, with truly astonishing capabilities and many bizarre characteristics. Their diverse ranks have come a long way from their distant and rather simple cousin, the clam.

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