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Scientists have found the world's deepest living squid

The researchers went in search of the USS Johnston shipwreck, which rests at a depth of 6450m, and in the process encountered and recorded a rare squid. In the spring of 2021, the Caladan Oceanic research team Set out for wreck of US destroyer USS Johnston. The 115-metre-long ship sank during a fierce naval battle
Published: January 30, 2022 - 09:00
Updated: July 22, 2023 - 23:58
Scientists have found the world’s deepest living squid

The researchers went in search of the USS Johnston shipwreck, which rests at a depth of 6450m, and in the process encountered and recorded a rare squid.

In the spring of 2021, the Caladan Oceanic research team Set out for wreck of US destroyer USS Johnston. The 115-metre-long ship sank during a fierce naval battle in the autumn of 1944. Conducted in 2021, the expedition was to gather research material to determine the wreck’s condition.

As the depth in this case is enormous, the expedition with the manned vehicle ran into delicate navigational problems. Before reaching the wreck, which rests in the Philippine Sea at the edge of the Emden Deep, the vehicle veered slightly off course. By a few kilometres, to be precise…

However, there is no such thing as a bad thing! It was through straying that they managed to come across something very unusual. Researchers have encountered and filmed the world’s deepest living squid. Although no one realised this until a certain point.

Discovery

Alan Jamieson, a deep-sea researcher from the University of Western Australia, analysed the footage of the expedition carefully. It was he who noticed that at one point, at a depth of 6200m, the crew of the Limited Factor vehicle encountered a creature. He pulled back the footage and analysed the video sequence frame by frame. After several replays, he was certain – the researchers had filmed a squid!

The animal was swimming just above the seabed, 1.5km deeper than anyone had ever seen a squid before. Alan Jamieson prepared a video clip and sent it, along with some photos, to Mike Vecchione. Mike is a Smithsonian Institution zoologist and from the outline of the creature, he was able to determine that it was a magnapinna. It is also known by the name bigfin squid.

They are really strange. They drift with their arms outstretched and long, skinny, spaghetti-like extensions dangling beneath them. Microscopic suction cups enable the squid to grab their prey Mike Vecchione said.

Thesquid that the researchers captured in the footage was described as relatively small. Its mantle measured about 10 cm in length. This is only 30% of the size of the largest known representative of this species. It was probably a young, not yet fully developed individual.

Finding squid so deep suggests that there is still much to discover in these still poorly explored areas of the ocean. We must therefore be very careful and explore the depths with due diligence so as not to destroy the ecosystems that exist there.

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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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