Talk about a real life squid game.
It’s good enough to find a wreck. It’s even better to see a huge, mysterious sea creature hanging along the rubble. This is what happened to the crew of the OceanX OceanExplorer research vessel during an expedition to the Red Sea in late 2020.
A year later, OceanX is revealing more details about the remarkable animal that swam behind its remote-vehicle camera as it probed the wreck of the passenger ship Pella at a depth of about 2,800 feet (850 meters).
Zoologist and squid expert Mike Vecchione studied the footage and suggested that despite its size, the animal was not notorious”Because of its body proportions and the shape of its wings. Vecchione identified it as a jumbo example of a purpleback flying squid.
An OceanX video posted on Wednesday shows an analysis of the fast-moving animal and Vecchione.
Matty Rodrigue, head of the OceanX science program, described seeing the squid – which was estimated to be larger than a human – the first time it passed beyond the bow of the wreck. “I was frozen in complete shock,” she said.
The researchers observed either the same squid or others like it during subsequent dives. Vecchione said that they represent a “giant form” of the purpleback flying squid.
OceanX focuses on ocean research, exploration, outreach and conservation. The goal of the Red Sea mission was to answer the question: “How do species thrive in the Red Sea where others would die?” The researchers explored sites with large animals such as squid, as well as climate-change resistant corals.
While Rodrigue saw that it was not a great giant squid, it was a surprising and unexpected sight. A true wonder of the depths.