Abyssal Squid Seen Stalking Submarine Explorer

The squid stalking D2. NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research, 2019 Southeastern U.S. Deep-sea Exploration

The exploration of the deep ocean has led to encounters with fantastical creatures often unlike anything seen before. Given the lack of light at those depths and their odd shapes, it is not surprising that these creatures sometimes give off a terrifying vibe. And it helps even less when they decide to stalk robotic submarines like a squid caught doing just that this year.

The NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research has shared a great picture of the Deep Discoverer (D2), a remotely operated submersible, being stalked by a deep-sea squid. The image was shared on Facebook to mark the beginning of the new Okeanos diving mission that started on October 31 and will continue through November 21.

“Ever get the feeling you’re being watched?!” reads the Facebook post. “Good thing D2 has Seirios standing guard. Referred to in the industry as a ‘camera sled,’ Seirios is tethered directly to the ship and then to D2, providing illumination and a wide-angle view as she hovers above D2, expanding our view of the seafloor and catching glimpses of things we'd otherwise miss…”

The NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer is busy mapping areas off the coast of Florida, continuing the successful “Windows to the Deep 2019” mission that ran from May 30 through July 12. The image above was snapped during that mission. The current expedition will continue to explore poorly understood regions of deep-water off the Southeastern United States continental margin.

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The exploration ship spent most of October performing 24-hour mapping operations to collect as much information as possible. The team has already conducted four dives, all at a depth of about 2,600 feet (800 meters). The dives have uncovered incredible sites and sights. For example, during dive 2, D2 came across a beautiful coral garden, black corals, and a glass sponge.

Corals are not the only animals the remotely operated vehicle spotted. Sea snails and starfish were seen on the first dive, and at the beginning of dive 4, D2 came face to face with the most adorable octopus. Sharks and many types of fish and crustaceans have also been spotted during the dives.

The octopus encountered by D2 at the seafloor on Dive 04 of the 2019 Southeastern U.S. Deep-sea Exploration. Image courtesy of the NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research, 2019 Southeastern U.S. Deep-sea Exploration

 

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