Remarkable new footage has been released of the mysterious bigfin squid, a rarely seen cephalopod with large shimmering fins and long, stringy arms and tentacles. The footage was captured by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) during an expedition in the Gulf of Mexico, where they observed the squid floating around about 2.4 km (just over a mile) below the surface.
Check it out!
In the clip above, the scientists delight in zooming in camera to reveal the squid in all its freaky glory. They remark how 'cool' and 'ghostly' the creature is, and how they can even see through its translucent body. Very cool!
Why was this discovery so exciting? Well, to date there have been fewer than 20 confirmed sightings of this deep sea creature, making this a special event indeed.
The bigfin is most recognizable by the funky elbow-like bends in its arms, a feature unique to this squid that makes it look even more otherwordly. Little else is known about these squids, only that their arms and tentacles (the two longest growths) can reach enormous lengths. The largest bigfin squid reported was about 7 metres (21 feet long), with its body being just 0.3 metres (one foot) in size. Scientists believe that the squid gets its food by dragging their long arms and tentacles and grabbing small organisms off the seafloor.
NOAA’s expedition aims to map and collect information about deep waters in the Gulf of Mexico. The team hopes that by getting an idea of the undersea life and the ecosystems that support it, they will be better able to protect the creatures that live there.
Want more deep sea weirdness? Check out our General KNOWLedge video about how animals can survive in the depths, and then read about some other aquatic creatures!