Jets of water propel this little squid and many others of its kind, most little more than half an inch long, on the northern fringe of Pulau Semakau, where mud and rubble meld into a broad flat of crumbling knolls and salty hollows. Scattered ponds form as the sea streams away with unconscious force, compellling pelagic fish and crabs to spend nervous hours in crowded holes and narrow cracks.
Pygmy squid, however, prefer to bob close to the surface, where they appear to casual eyes to be no more than a sliver of flotsam, a slice of weed or a cut of seagrass. A sticky organ on the upper side of the body allows the animal to cling to leaves or fronds, but there is little suitable vegetation on this side of the island. So the little cephalopods resort instead to hiding in plain view, puffing off just out of reach when their personal space is breached and switching on a swarthier side as they recover their bearings to resume a hunt for shrimp that play in tiny pools and pick on each other with no inklings of death at hand from stubby arms.