Some animals found in the deep see look like alien lifeforms, and this one is no exception.
Taningia danae, the Dana octopus squid, is a species of squid in the family Octopoteuthidae. It is known to be one of the largest species of squid, reaching more than five feet in length. The largest one ever found was a female that weighed more than 350 pounds. The squid was only spotted for the first time in its natural habitat in 2005 by a Japanese research vessel.
“One thing that is really noteworthy is if you watch that video you can see two lights flashing at the tips of two of the squids’ arms,” NOAA squid expert Michael Vecchione told Smithsonian Science News of the footage of the animal. ” This footage was captured on an expedition in Hawaii. Despite its rareness, the squid was spotted twice in this outing.
The squid has the largest photophores, or light producing organs, of any known species. They are so bright that they can be see even though the lights of the sub are turned on “which is really unusual” Vecchione said.
These photophores are thought to be used as either a defense mechanism or to freeze prey.
NOAA’s Deep Discoverer research submersible had a pair of encounters with a large squid in Sept. 2015. On the first sighting, the crew captured the animal descending toward the seafloor. On the second run, the curious squid attached itself briefly!