HomeTop StoriesThis rare predatory deep-sea squid has high-beam headlights

This rare predatory deep-sea squid has high-beam headlights

Poison: UWA / Inkfish

A research team from the University of Western Australia has captured images of a Dana octopus squid while deploying baited cameras in the Pacific Ocean. In the footage shared today, the squid treated the camera like prey and flashed its luminous headlights before heading off to hunt. If you think being blinded by a high beam on the road is horrifying, imagine being more than a mile deep in pitch-black water and Dana squid blinds you and then eats you.

Dana squid are huge and can grow up to 350 pounds and seven feet in length. The hooked squid also had the largest known photophores in the world at the end of two of its arms. It uses the organs to produce bioluminescent flashes to disorient and startle its prey. Associate Professor Heather Stewart said:

“The squid, which was about 75cm long, swooped down on our camera thinking it was prey and tried to scare it with its huge bioluminescent headlights. It then wrapped its arms around one of the other cameras, which in turn captured the encounter in even more detail. I think we were very lucky to have witnessed this.”

The research team deployed cameras to a depth of more than five kilometers. The squid chased the camera less than half a mile from the surface as it descended at about 2 miles per hour. Professor Alan Jamieson, Director of the Minderoo-UWA Deep Sea Research Centre, said:

“A lot of data on this species comes from strandings, accidental bycatch or from the stomach contents of whales. The rarity of live observations of these amazing animals makes every encounter valuable in gathering information about geographic locations, depth and behavior. Plus, it’s such a unique animal that we almost never get to see, so we had to share it.”

Yes, the world needs to know that marine life also faces the fear of high beams piercing the darkness and ending lives.

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