Scientists film ghostly and elusive finch squid floating in the depths

NOAA’s Oceanos Explorer research ship sent an ROV into the Gulf of Mexico and spotted this wild-looking finch.

Video screenshot by Amanda Kooser / CNET

Deep in the sea lives a strange octopus with eight arms and two tentacles. The great octopus can grow up to 19.7 feet (6 meters) in length. It’s elusive, and each observation is a chance to learn more about the mysterious animals.

The crew of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Ocean Explorer research ship discovered some watery wonders – including a fin-finned squid – during its recently completed Windows for the Deep 2021 expedition.

NOAA researchers used a remote-controlled vehicle to dive and examine the West Florida Escarpment in the Gulf of Mexico. The ROV spotted the octopus on November 9 and NOAA tweeted a video collection of the ethereal creature on Monday, complete with comments from happy scientists. The explorers called it “cool”, “ghostly” and “very strange”.

“Exactly how large-finned squid use their arms and tentacles is unknown,” NOAA said in a statement last week. “But these pendants have microscopic suction cups on them, and scientists believe squid are likely to use them to catch prey that bumps into them as they hang in the water under their bodies or pull along the ocean floor.”

Great Finn squid was first officially described only about 20 years ago. It was originally thought that there was only one species, as squid expert Mike Vecchione explains in the video commentary, but now there are several different species of great fin (genus Magnapinna) known to exist. Vecchione was one of the scientists who first described the squid.

The squid may be rare, but researchers have worked hard to learn more about deep-sea animals. ONE study published in 2020 detailed five observations off the coast of Australia. Each new video is yet another little window into the world of the great fin and a chance to admire the beauty of a sparkling squid.

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