Scientists have achieved a new first by capturing images of a giant squid in waters off the US coast. This is only the second time that a giant squid is caught swimming live and on video.
Dr. Edie Widder, founder of the Ocean Research and Conservation Association, was part of the team that filmed both the 2012 squid and this most recent sighting. She invented a shooting system, called MEDUSA, designed to shoot under water mainly using a red light – a light that deep-sea creatures usually can not see. The MEDUSA system unfolds on a link up to a kilometer long and also incorporates a lure designed to replicate the bioluminescence of a jellyfish, a preferred prey of squids.
The giant squids were extremely hard to study alive and little was known about them until recently. We know that they are attacking whales because we have found whales bearing giant cupping scars on their skin. They have the biggest eyes of all known species, with the exception of the colossal squid, but their behavior has remained largely a mystery, including basic questions, like to know if they are active hunters, swimming in the depths in search of a meal or more likely to drift slowly with the current, spending minimal energy. (Research on this point is continuing, but the available data suggest that these squid do not hunt passively.) The reason Widder invented the MEDUSA camera system was that they had a theory that they were doing research on the ships were just too noisy and disrupted their temperament. .
According to Dr. Widder, the time when the squid appeared on the tape was electric for observers. "People started to regroup, to scream, to get really excited, but trying to be too much," Dr. Widder said the New York Times. "Because we had to be sure it was really what we thought we were."
For years, we have learned about the existence of creatures like giant squid when they have been washed dead or when we found beaks stuck in the guts of sperm whales. This new video, collected at 759 meters with an ocean depth of 2,200 meters (2,500 feet and 7,260 feet, respectively), and the dramatic way the squid hit the lure, is useful data for their hunting and fishing practices. their privileged environment. As the New York Times notes, the story stands out: lightning struck the research ship moments after the video was filmed, causing panic that the strike would have damaged the electronics and corrupted the images. Fortunately, this particular result did not happen.
With about 80% of unexplored ocean depths, discoveries and discoveries like this remain to be discovered and studied. There are still species with a lot of empty space in their metaphorical pages of Wikipedia, despite the fact that we know that they existed, in this case, since ancient times.