Scientists are afraid of the first shots of this strange squid

Ram horn shells are small, delicate helical structures that beach users can Usually find across the world.

However, despite their ubiquity, the original owners of these shells are very far away. So far, we’ve never had single shots in the wild.

In the twilight region of our oceans, at the fingertips of sunlight, a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) has now delivered First shots Ram-horn squid (Spirola spirolA) In its natural environment.

This weird looking cephalopod is a tiny thing barely 7 centimeters (less than 3 inches) long, with eight arms, claws, a pair of bulging eyes, and an overall doll-like appearance.

In its tail, hidden under its cloak, there is an inner sheath tightly wrapped and equipped with chambers of gas with which the animal manipulates for buoyancy.

Initially, the researchers working on the ROV were at the Schmidt Oceanic Institute No idea What they were looking for.

“What on earth?” A scientist can hear Whoops In the background of the video, which was filmed directly on the Great Barrier Reef at a depth of 850 to 860 meters (2,790 feet).

Since then, this rare sight has been shared online and confirmed to be the first live footage Spirola In the deep seas, the largest and least explored habitats on our planet.

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While there are many deep-sea species that have never been seen in their natural waters, this latest encounter has particularly piqued the interest of scientists.

Ram’s horn squid is rarely seen in the wild, and it is One of the most unusual cephalopods Abroad.

Aside from squid, it is the only other known mollusk that has an inner shell to keep it afloat. However, unlike squid, the skeleton of this squid is tightly wrapped. Slugs in Nautilus The sex also has similarly shaped shells, but which appear outside the animal.

“I’ve been searching for these things for a long time,” zoologist Michael Vecchioni, who studies middle-water squid at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, told ScienceAlert.

“I have absolutely no question. It’s prof Spirola. ”

While Vecchione regularly hunts these species from depths, and occasionally harbors them in aquariums, he has never before seen shots of squid in their natural habitat.

Nor Neg Pascal, which taught Spirola At the University of Burgundy in France. He told ScienceAlert the video was “very exciting”.

Spirola shell. (Antonov / Public Domain)

Aside from the sheer rarity of this encounter, there is one aspect that is particularly surprising in the shots: the position of the animal itself, with its head and claws floating upright, and its fins facing downward.

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Pascal told ScienceAlert: “Are we absolutely sure of the direction of filming? If that is the case, then it belongs to a revolution.”

“A lot of people panic because the head is raised,” Vichione adds.

“The reason for their horror is that the shell with its buoyancy is at the other end of the squid. So you would think the head, which is heavier, would be hanging.”

When placed in an aquarium, this is actually how it draws the squid. His head is facing down and his tentacles up – this is how the species was Thought to take the same position In the deep sea.

ElWRmqVW0AIMLFg(Ewald Robesamine / Public Domain)

According to Vekeon, there is a problem with this assumption. The ram’s horn squid also contains a light-generating organ, known as a photophore, which is located near the floating shell.

This means if Spirola Hanging head down, this light will face up, which is unusual for deep-sea animals.

In the twilight zone of our oceans, it often has predators Eyes looking Hoping to look at the silhouette of a potential meal. Hence, photograms help disguise prey in the deep sea by washing their silhouettes with light. If this lamp is pointing upwards, then this organ is almost not useful.

There is a lot that we still do not know about Spirola, Including how the species reproduces and where they lay their eggs, but the way this squid guides itself in the water is one of the biggest questions for Vikione.

While he can’t be sure that they are always floating with their tentacles facing up, he says the snaps are good evidence that the squid is doing this at least in a fraction of the time. We’ll need more notes to solve this puzzle.

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The curiosity surrounding the ram’s horn squid does not end there. When the creature finally rushed away in the video, it looked as if a little ink had spilled into the water; Vecchione is pretty sure it came from cuttlefish – a possible diversion escape tactic.

Screenshot 2020 10 28 at 2.37.13 pmPotential inking of Spirula. (Ocean Schmidt Institute / YouTube)

“That’s interesting because Spirola It has a mechanism for making ink but it shrinks in these species, like other deep-sea ones, ”Vichione told ScienceAlert.

“But that indicates that it is functional and that they are using it for defense.”

This may be the first time we’ve spotted ram’s horn squid in its natural habitat, but it is also the first time we’ve encountered an ROV. Fair enough if they wet themselves.

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