According to Ocean X, scientists mapping the seafloor of the Gulf of Aqaba, the “right antenna” of the northern Red Sea, have recently sunk a wreck and two mysterious big squids flying around it. I found sightings at about the same time.
The OceanX team quickly identified the wreck after sending a remotely operated vehicle (ROV). It was the ferry Pella that ignited and sank in November 2011. However, it took time to identify the squid. But it made a lot of cameos. The crew used ROVs and submersibles to visit the shipwreck three times, each time seeing a giant squid swimming.
After consulting with Michael Vecchione, an invertebrate zoologist at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC, the crew finally got the answer. NS Cephalopods It was a flying squid with purple back (Sthenoteuthis oualaniensis), And that huge one.
Mattie Rodrigue, OceanX Science Program Leader, told Live Science: “I was joking that it was the moment it was made for television.”
The Purple Back Flying Squid run-in occurred in October 2020 during a virgin voyage by OceanX’s research vessel, OceanXplorer, mapping the seafloor of the northern Red Sea. The crew was in the Neom region of the Gulf of Aqaba, using technologies such as multi-beam sonar and deep-sea vehicles to steadily catalog the aquatic ecosystem and depth of the region.
The ship’s research engineers then warned Rodrigue that the multi-beam sonar was picking up an anomaly about 328 feet (100 meters) long on the ocean floor. Some crew members thought it was a large rock or coral reef, while others thought it was a shipwreck. Subsequent investigations of deep-sea vehicles confirmed that it was a shipwreck of Pera that sank on its way to Nuweiba, Egypt, killing one passenger.
As the ROV approached the bow of the wreck about 2,788 feet (850 m) below sea level, a large squid “came toward us and then pushed away,” Rodriguet said.
ROVs have lasers that help measure objects in the water, but the crew didn’t turn them on in time. Vecchione, who spoke with both Ocean X and Live Science, states that the overall length of the squid is likely to be about 6 feet (2 m). There are reports of a mature female purple-back flying squid with a mantle (squid body or “hat-like” part) up to 2.6 feet (82 cm), he said.
Purple back flying squids come in five sizes, from dwarf to giant. This was probably the case, Vecchione told Live Science. The short, wide fins of the squid, and its body proportions, match those of the purple-backed flying squid, he said, with a known population of purple-backed flying squids in the Red Sea.
These squids are active predators in the tropical and subtropical waters of the Pacific and Indian Oceans. According to the Australian Museum.. They live in the open ocean to a depth of about 3,280 feet (1,000 m), but often swim upwards to feed shallow depths at night. In addition, these muscular, speedy squids can cruise at speeds of 6.2 mph (10 km / h) with bursts of up to 22 mph (35 km / h). According to SeaLifeBase, An internationally maintained marine research site.
NS. oualaniensis It is harvested as tuna food in Japan and Taiwan, and is eaten by humans “although the meat quality is relatively poor”. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature..
It’s unclear if purpleback squids are frequently hanging around the wreck, but witnessing this individual (or whether there are multiple) raises the issue, Vecchione said. Says. He said the wreck could attract fish, which would be a prey to squids.
Rodriguet said finding the squid was a memory she would never forget.
“It was great for me,” Rodriguet said. “I was thinking of seeing a shipwreck, so I thought it would be an exciting day … but I never thought I would meet such a magnificent and big animal.”
Originally published in Live Science.
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