The organisms live below 700 m (2,300 ft) water depth; although sometimes found as deep as 4 km (2.5 mi) underwater, they generally live at a water depth of around 2 km (1.2 mi). They do not possess a radula.
The stauroteuthids have the distinction of being one of the few bioluminescent octopuses; some of the muscle cells that control the suckers in most species have been replaced with photophores which are believed to fool prey by directing them towards the mouth.
Stauroteuthis gilchristi is a species of small pelagic octopus found at great depths in the south Atlantic Ocean. It is believed to be one of a very small number of octopuses to exhibit bioluminescence, like its sister taxon Stauroteuthis syrtensis.
Stauroteuthis syrtensis, also known as the glowing sucker octopus, is a species of small pelagicoctopus found at great depths in the north Atlantic Ocean. It is one of a very small number of octopuses to exhibit bioluminescence.