General, Research, Technology

The largest squid in the world reach 14 meters in length. Why did few people see them alive?

Right now, in the great depths of the seas andoceans, huge squids swim up to 14 meters long. For the first time, people learned about their existence in the time of Aristotle, because sometimes the bodies of deceased individuals are washed ashore and shock passers-by. The first photos of giant squid were taken only in 2004 and their quality left much to be desired. It is difficult for scientists to take pictures, because these mysterious creatures live very deeply, where sunlight does not penetrate. But. biologists recently developed the Medusa system, which consists of chambers with small lanterns and bait to attract the attention of squid. Thanks to this device, scientists were able to take some of the highest quality photographs of giant squid ever. Moreover, they managed to shoot several videos where unusual creatures can be seen in their natural habitat. Let's talk about these squids in more detail and take a look at the photos.

At a depth of 400 meters, giant squids live, but almost no one has seen them live

Who are squid?

Squids are called cephalopods.with an oblong body, which ends in many tentacles. Each member of this group of animals has a so-called radula, which is an organ for chopping food. Also, all squids have an ink gland, which, in case of danger, shoots out paint, which disguises the animal from predators. Scientists are aware of the existence of about 250 species of squid, and most of them live in the waters near tropical islands. But they can also be found in Russia, on the territory of the Far Eastern and northern seas. Most species live on the surface layers of water, but giant squids live only at very great depths.

Most squid have the same body structure. They differ only in size

Features of giant squid

Giant squids can grow up to14 meters long and gain weight up to 275 kilograms. But very little is known about the lifestyle of giant squids, because scientists have practically no way to track them. It is assumed that they reach sexual maturity at 3 years old and lay many millimeter eggs with a total weight of up to 5 kilograms. More recently, scientists have learned that giant squids feed on deep-sea fish that glow in the dark. They catch prey with tentacles and bring it to the above-mentioned radula for grinding. And giant squids have almost no enemies - the only exception is sperm whales.

The battle of the squid and the sperm whale as seen by the artist

As mentioned above, giant squidslive at a depth of more than 400 meters, where sunlight does not penetrate. In order to see well in the dark, these creatures in the course of evolution acquired the largest eyes among all animals. The diameter of their eyes is about 27 centimeters, with 9 of them being the pupil. Thanks to their large eyes, they can easily notice the glow of deep-sea organisms, get close to them and attack. Perhaps squid cannot distinguish colors and can only notice the difference in shades of gray. But there is no hard evidence of this yet.

Squid eye

Giant squids are very large in size, because they are affected by the phenomenon deep sea gigantism... It just so happened that living at great depthsorganisms are much larger than their surface counterparts. What this is connected with is still not exactly clear. Some scientists believe that large animals adapt to lack of food. There is also an assumption that large body size is a reaction to high pressure at the depths of the seas and oceans, or to low temperatures. Be that as it may, this phenomenon affects so many deep sea creatures. For example, there are Japanese spider crabs in the world, whose legs are 3 meters. Quite a creepy sight.

Japanese spider crab

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Photos of giant squid

Until now, scientists have not had the technology thatwould allow you to shoot high-quality photos and videos of these mysterious creatures. Most of the information available about giant squid was obtained from the study of the bodies of dead individuals that were thrown on various shores. Of course, scientists could lower a camera with a built-in flashlight to great depths. However, the bright light would clearly scare off squids, which have very large and sensitive eyes. But an international team of scientists solved the problem by creating the Medusa apparatus.

Giant squid attacks the bait

Another Medusa photo

It consists of several cameras that are equipped withred lights. Their light does not scare off squid, but the brightness is enough to illuminate them. Also part of the apparatus is the E-Jelly bait in the form of a deep-sea jellyfish, which emits a bioluminescent glow. Researchers immersed several of these devices in the Great Caribbean and the neon blue light caught the attention of several giant squids at once. As a result, scientists were able to take photographs and videos of these creatures at a depth of 557 to 950 meters.

Video with giant squids

Researchers believe that in the futurethe technology they have developed will allow you to learn much more about deep-sea squid and other inhabitants of the world's oceans. It is believed that at the moment, scientists have managed to study only about 5% of the water space of our planet. In 2011, it was suggested that there are approximately 2.2 million aquatic creatures in the world, but scientists are only aware of 194,400 of them so far. Most of the deep sea creatures are very scary looking and have amazing skills. It seems like there are big discoveries in the future!