This Rare Predatory Deep-Sea Squid Has High-Beam Headlights

A research team from the University of Western Australia captured footage 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 bioluminescent headlights before going for the kill. If you think getting blinded by a set of high-beams on the road is horrifying, imagine being over a mile deep in pitch black waters and Dana squid blinding then eating you.

Rare deep-sea squid caught on camera

Dana squids are massive, reaching up to 350 pounds and seven feet in length. The hooked squid also featured the natural world’s largest known photophores 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, descended on our camera assuming it was prey, and tried to startle it with is huge bioluminescent headlights. It then proceeded to wrap its arms around one of other cameras which in turn captured the encounter in even greater detail. I think we were very lucky to have witnessed this.”

The research team was deploying cameras to a depth over 3 miles deep. The squid chased the camera less than a half-mile from the surface as it was descending at roughly 2 miles per hour. Professor Alan Jamieson, director of the Minderoo-UWA Deep Sea Research Centre, said:

“Many records of this species are 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 on geographic locations, depth, and behavior, plus it is such a unique animal that we hardly ever get to see, so we had to share it.”

Yes, the world must know that marine life also deals with the terror of high-beam headlights piercing through the darkness and ending lives.


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