Brent Hoff

This Rare Footage Of A Deep Sea Squid Giving Birth Is Seriously Incredible

Amy Pilkington 5 Jun 2019

There's something about squid that fascinates us as humans. Probably that's because beyond the tiny versions we nom on at seafood restaurants, the species is incredibly mysterious.

Most live in the deepest, darkest parts of the ocean, where no human can safely go.

I mean, there's a reason that giant squid and octopuses are staples of the sea-faring adventure tale.

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There's obviously Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea in which the crew has to battle seven of the tentacle-y monsters, though in the movie adaptations it's usually only one squid.

Which is lame.

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And, of course, we can't forget the Kraken.

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While descriptions vary in the folklore and various pop culture versions, it's always big, dangerous, and has plenty of tentacles.

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Yet, even as modern science has improved, those deep sea denizens have remained mysterious.

Wikimedia | https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Alecton_giant_squid_1861.png

Part of it is simply that it's really, really hard to get scientists and their equipment down to the depths where these creatures live.

Luckily, drone technology keeps on improving and we're getting more and more glimpses of squid in their natural habitat.

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And by getting a better look at them, we can start seeing them as animals rather than monsters.

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Which is why this video of a mother squid is making the rounds again.

It was taken in 2002 by a remote submarine from the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI).

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The video starts simply enough, with darkness and water lit only by the sub's headlamps.

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But then, a squid is spotted. It's a Gonatus onyx, which found of the coast of California living about 1-1.5 miles below the surface.

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But what made it such a special find was that the squid was a new mom.

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They had managed to stumble upon her just as her thousands of eggs were about to hatch, and they caught the whole thing on video.

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The squid was holding her eggs close, in a tube-like veil of membrane gripped by the dozens of tiny hooks on her arms.

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Yes, arms. The squid has both arms and tentacles.

The hollow tube allows the mother to squeeze her arms and tentacles, forcing fresh, oxygenated water in and out to keep her eggs healthy. And when they hatch, she helps them leave the veil by shaking in and swimming around.

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Very few photos and videos exist of this birthing process, but it confirms that the squid are doting moms, protecting their eggs and keeping them healthy until it's time to go free.

What makes this video particularly special is how the babies look like little fireflies or stars as they swim away. This is due to the refection of the submarine's lights, but it's absolutely. beautiful.

Check it out! If you're in a hurry, the main action begins at about the three minute mark.

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