Monday, December 1, 2008

Rare squid 'with elbows' caught on camera

Rare squid 'with elbows' caught on camera

A rare species of squid that appears to have elbows has been filmed in unprecedented clarity by an underwater camera.

By Matthew Moore
Last Updated: 3:45PM GMT 28 Nov 2008

The squid was spotted a mile and a half below the surface of the Gulf of Mexico at an oil and gas drilling site off the coast of Houston, Texas.

The footage, recorded on a remote-controlled camera, shows the creature's long tentacles hanging at right angles from shoulder-like "arms" jutting out of its body.

The magnapinna's peculiar arrangement of limbs has baffled marine biologists since the deep-sea species was first identified in 1998.

One theory is that the elbows help prevent the squid's tentacles from becoming tangled, as it drags them along the seabed trawling for food. Others suggest that the squid waits for prey to collide with and get trapped among its sticky limbs.

The footage, which was filmed by a Shell Oil camera at their Perdido drilling site in November last year, has been circulating among oil industry employees via email for months. It came to public attention after being featured on the National Geographic website.

Magnapinna squid, which live in darkness 4,000 feet below the surface of the ocean, have only been caught on camera a handful of times, and never at a drilling site.

Although their tentacles are remarkable, the animals are much smaller than giant squids which have been recorded to reach up to 52 ft in length.

No comments:

Post a Comment