Incredible new footage from the depths of the Atlantic shows an extremely rare sighting of a bigfin squid, a scarcely seen cephalopod known for its alien-like appearance and freakishly long tentacles.
The video (below) was captured by Schmidt Ocean’s remotely operated sub that was snooping around the “Lost City hydrothermal vent field” found along the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. The ongoing project looks to collect chemical and biological samples from this mysterious environment that lies on the bottom of the seabed.
The bigfin squid was spotted during dive 501 of the expedition, which was live-streamed on YouTube (the sighting occurs at around 9 hours, 33 minutes and 40 seconds.)
The mysterious creature had a translucent pinkish-red body with deep purple eyes. It was seen at a depth of over 1,930 meters (6,332 feet) below sea level, gently swirling around the pitch-black waters in all its creepy and ethereal wonder.
“What a beautiful animal,” one of the researchers comments in the video
“Very alien-looking,” another comments. “I see why so many aliens are inspired by marine animals.”
These squid can measure over 6 meters (19.7 feet) in length, the vast majority of which is accounted for by their extremely long and thin appendages (technically eight arms and two tentacles).
“How bigfin squid use their arms & tentacles is unknown, but they have microscopic suckers on them. Scientists think as appendages hang down in the water below squid's body (or drag along the seafloor), they trap prey that bump into them,” Schmidt Ocean said in a tweet.
Bigfin squid belong to the genus Magnapinna, which is divided into a number of different known species. They are documented members of the genus in both the Atlantic and Pacific, suggesting they may have a cosmopolitan range across the world’s seas.
Hydrothermal vent systems are known to harbor unique lifeforms. Just a few weeks ago, this expedition documented a remarkable hydrothermal vent field shrimp party. However, this latest squid sighting was especially remarkable.
There have only been around 20 recorded encounters with bigfin squid since they were first documented around 20 years ago. Given how rarely they are seen, scientists know very little about their behavior.