Scientists recently captured stunning footage of a squid with huge, iridescent fins and funky, elbow-like bends in its tentacles, which is rarely seen.
There have been less than 20 confirmed reports of this deep-sea squid, known as a bigfin squid (Magnapinna), and this recent report adds to the list.
The elusive squid was spotted on the recent "Windows to the Deep 2021: Southeast ROV and Mapping expedition" which the team explored poorly understood deepwater areas in the western Atlantic Ocean off the southeastern United States. While filming underwater near the West Florida Escarpment, the team noticed a set of spindly blue appendages drifting past their remotely operated vehicle.
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In the footage, the camera pans to reveal the big fin squid with its eight arms and two tentacles. The large fins on the creature's mantle are similar to the fins on a stingray. The squid's organs are visible in the light of the ROV.
Mike Vecchione, a research zoologist with the National Museum of Natural History, was watching the ROV footage on a satellite feed as the big fin squid came into view. He and Richard E. Young of the University of Hawaii first described the big fin squid family in 1998. There are three species of bigfin squid that have been described, but there may be more.
The statement says that Vecchione called the vehicle operators to share his knowledge of the animal after it popped up on the ROV feed. In the video footage, Vecchione can be heard saying that all of their arms and legs have spaghetti-like extensions. It's difficult to tell the arms from the tentacles, which is very unusual for a squid. The big squid fin has appendages that are held out from its body, creating elbow-like dents.
The big fin squid have been seen as deep as 15,535 feet (4,735 m) down in the past, but in the past the squid was seen swimming about 7,825 feet (2,385 meters) beneath the ocean surface. It's not clear how many of the big fin family are in the world's deep ocean, since the cephalopods are rarely seen. The first big fin squid to be seen in Australian waters was reported by scientists last year.
Live Science published the original article.