Prowling tropical coral reefs, the scarlet squid is a massive, fearsome-looking cephalopod that derives its name from its mottled red hide. When confronted by a rival attempting to turf it out of its patch of territory, the squid will intensify its coloration to a flaming scarlet to intimidate the challenger into backing away. Adults over the size of twenty feet are often covered in welters of scar tissue, a testament to numerous conflicts with members of their species or predatory fish such as sharks. 

However, after digesting an especially hearty meal, the squid's hide can soften to a rosy pink, indicating its contented satiety. Additionally, during the seasonal mating season, when males seek out females to copulate with, their hides will temporarily take on a russet hue, signifying their amorous intentions.   If the female is receptive, she will mirror her paramour's colors and draw him close to her. But if not impressed by his efforts, she will lash out and attempt to kill him.  

Social behavior  and lifecycle

 Camaflouging themselves amidst the vast reddish coral formations that dominate their habitat, the squid lies in wait for unsuspecting prey and will often tussle with others of its kind over the most prime ambush spots.  

Interestingly, this aggressively solitary behavior only manifests itself after the squid attains sexual maturity.  During the initial stages of its existence, the scarlet squid is a fairly social creature.  Since female squids use communal spawning grounds, their gelatinous eggs clump together, adhering to the crevices of coral reefs. When the infant squid emerges from their eggs, they instinctively cluster together. Still a glistening, translucent white at this stage, the infant squid enmesh their tentacles together, deriving a sense of security from the presence of their peers. 

Swiftly leaving behind the place of their birth to escape the attention of adults of their kind who might be tempted to snack on them, the young squid search for new feeding grounds. Moving as a comingled profusion of tentacles, they scour the bottom of seagrass beds in search of tiny crustaceans and other minute prey.  The combined mass of the baby squid dissuades most predatory fish from attempting to attack them. Should a predator persist, then the squid attack in unison, their tentacles secreting a paralytic toxin that leaves the attacking fish unable to move while they make their escape.    

However, as they rapidly develop and begin to take on their characteristic red hue, the group fragments with the maturing squid choosing to go their separate ways. As their size and appetite expand, the potency of their venom also increases, allowing these cephalopods to subdue larger prey.  An adult red squid can produce enough venom to paralyze an animal as large as a whale shark.  Ironically, this deadly weapon has become the primary cause of their ongoing extinction.

Apothecaries are willing to pay a premium price for the venom of these squid since they are believed to be indispensable for producing potions that can produce a powerful sense of heightened ecstasy in their users.   As a result of this demand, the squids have been hunted to the point of near extinction.  

Notwithstanding the hefty price that this beast fetches, hunting the red squid is not an easy task. When confronted by divers, it attacks them with its tentacles, unleashing its deadly venom. Should the diver be unable to make his escape, he faces the grisly prospect of being eaten by the squid.

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