Mysterious twisted squid baffles scientists

Listen to researchers delight in seeing the curled-up creature in this video
twisted squid Can you identify this ocean critter? (NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research, Gulf of Mexico 2018)

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is the United States' expert on all things ocean and weather-related. They're kind of like the NASA of our own planet. Their research gives us better understanding of our atmosphere's health, the perils of climate change, and what animals live in the waters that cover over two-thirds of Earth.

So when a group of their scientists can be heard saying, "What is that?", you know that they've come across something pretty cool. That's exactly what happened when a NOAA expedition in the Gulf of Mexico came across a rather twisted squid.

Roll the film!

Squished-up squid!

As you can tell from the audio in the video, these scientists didn't know exactly what they were seeing. After a while, they began to notice tentacles and determined that it was a squid. But what kind? They're still not totally sure, though according to a recent update, they believe it belongs to a group of squid known as genus Discoteuthis which are found in tropical and subtropical waters.

Its bent posture is similar to a defensive pose that many squids use. And considering that this animal was found at the normally isolated depths of 850 metres (2,790 feet), it's understandable that it would be a little touchy about being approached by a giant sub! However, in this case, the squid's position is so extreme, researchers aren't sure if they're looking at one odd individual or an entirely new species.

Of course, encountering mysterious sea creatures isn't a new thing to NOAA. The ship featured in this video, the Okeanos Explorer, has been scouring the ocean for a decade already. Will it get the chance to revisit the twisted squid to make a positive species ID? We certainly hope so!

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