Scanning the floor of the Atlantic Ocean, scientists searched for a type of deep-sea hydrothermal vent. Instead, they spotted a rarely seen squid swimming along.
Video footage shows the mesmerizing creature.
Schmidt Ocean Institute, a California-based research group, was exploring the Mid-Atlantic Ridge with a remotely operated underwater vehicle on April 3, according to a YouTube livestream video of the dive.
Toward the end of the dive, the researchers noticed something whitish-pink enter the edge of the camera’s range. Zooming in, a deep-sea creature comes into focus, the video shows.
“It’s like a squid-y looking thing,” one of the scientists said.
The tentacled animal was identified as a bigfin squid, the organization said on Twitter.
Up close, the bigfin squid has a vibrant pink color that stands out against the deep blue water surrounding it, video footage shows. The squid swims along with gentle flutters of its head fins and swirls of its tentacles.
“Very alien-looking,” one of the scientists says in the YouTube video. “I see why so many aliens are inspired by marine animals.”
Bigfin squid “are a rare sight,” the organization said on Twitter. Scientists have recorded only about 20 encounters with the squid.
Bigfin squid can be found “throughout the world’s deep ocean, and they can live deeper than any other known squid,” according to NOAA Ocean Exploration. The squid filmed by Schmidt Ocean researchers was found about 6,315 feet underwater or about 1.2 miles down, the video shows.
The squid is identified by its “eight arms and two tentacles” which have “elbow-like bends,” NOAA said in the article from 2021. Bigfin squid can grow to about 20 feet long – mostly due to their long arms and tentacles.
Researchers still don’t know how the elusive squid uses its tentacles, according to NOAA, but they might help the animal capture its prey.
After about four minutes, the Schmidt Ocean team left the squid and continued with its exploration, the video shows.
The purpose of this expedition was to find and study a type of hydrothermal vent known as “lost cities” vents, according to Schmidt Ocean’s website. Very few of these limestone vents have been found, but “their chemical makeup is suspected to be closest to the conditions that facilitated life’s origin on our planet.” Researchers want to better understand the unusual underwater structure.
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