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Rare decapod captured on video for the first time

Scientists exploring a newly discovered coral reef near Australia have captured the decapod Spirula spirula on video footage. The squid, popularly known as ‘ram’s horns’, has only been known to the scientific world through the dead specimens that the waves have thrown ashore.This time researchers have been much luckier and have managed to record this
Published: November 1, 2020 - 09:00
Updated: July 22, 2023 - 21:27
Rare decapod captured on video for the first time

Scientists exploring a newly discovered coral reef near Australia have captured the decapod Spirula spirula on video footage.

The squid, popularly known as ‘ram’s horns’, has only been known to the scientific world through the dead specimens that the waves have thrown ashore.This time researchers have been much luckier and have managed to record this unusual creature in its natural habitat.

The Schmidt Ocean Institute research team, which recently discovered a previously unknown coral reef higher than New York’s Empire State Bulding skyscraper, can boast another great success.

While exploring the depths with the SuBastien remote-controlled robot, a 7 cm long decapod was spotted and recorded at a depth of 861 m. This is the first time this cephalopod has been caught on camera in its natural environment.

The two discoveries were made as part of a year-long scientific expedition to better understand the ocean depths surrounding Australia. In the footage, which lasts just over an hour, you can see the remarkable views from the inaccessible depths and hear commentary from the research team.

Among squid, the species Spirula spirula is considered one of the most unusual. These cephalopods carry an inner shell in their tail containing gas chambers, which they use to control their buoyancy. It is the only known mollusk to have developed such a system.

Experts studying the new material were particularly surprised to see the squid floating with its head facing upwards. Due to its “buoyant shell” and relatively heavy head, they expected it to look the other way.

It also means that the tail-mounted light-generating ‘photophore’, used by deep-sea creatures to detect prey, is directed upwards. Normally this would be considered a useless solution as it leaves the creature exposed to predators below.

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About author

Tomasz Andrukajtis
Editor-in-chief of the DIVERS24 portal and magazine. Responsible for obtaining, translating and developing content. He also supervises all publications. Achived his first diving certification – P1 CMAS, in 2000. Has a degree in journalism and social communication. In the diving industry since 2008.
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