The crew of the NOAA’s research vessel Okeanos Explorer has filmed an unusual creature swimming above the ocean floor deep in the Gulf of Mexico. On April 17th, the crew found the squid was scrunched up, folding some of its arms flat against itself and sticking a few out to the side – it almost looks like the blood red cephalopod was attempting a complicated yoga position. At a depth of around 850 metres, the animal puzzled the marine biologists, who couldn’t recognise the species as it was so distorted in shape.
The researchers didn’t collect the quid so can only speculate on the nature of its pose, and suspect it was a defensive manoeuvre in response to the bright lights and presence of their submarine or perhaps a method of feeding on the detritus that sinks to the deeper waters. It swam like a nautilus though coloured more like a vampire squid, but they think it may be a species known as Discoteuthis discus – a mysterious squid that has only ever been found dead or in fragments washed up onto beaches. It’s not the first time the vessel has captured something so unusual – the team have discovered weird glowing jellyfish and even filmed octopuses battling it out under a shipwreck.
It’s possible that the strange creature is an entirely new species or a known species behaving in a way never recorded before, but either way serves as a reminder that there is still so much to learn about life in the vast expanses of ocean on our planet. You can follow the adventures of Okeanos Explorer on their Youtube live stream.
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