Squid is an aquatic animal that is rarely seen by people. These extremely reclusive animals are one of the most mysterious and interesting. However, this lack of sightings is not something out of the ordinary as we do not know nearly enough about our oceans and the animals living in them to be certain about anything. Squids are just part of our ignorance, which we are trying to dispose of. One of the most commonly found things on beaches are Ram’s horn shells. These are small delicate spiral structures whose owners have never been spotted in the wild until now.
Researchers using a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) have delivered the first footage of a ram’s horn squid (Spirula spirula) in the ocean. The squid itself measures just 7 centimeters in length. This cephalopod has eight arms, two tentacles, a pair of bulging eyes, and a columnar silhouette. This bizarre creature also has a shell hidden beneath its mantle. The squid uses the air trapped inside of the shell to manipulate the buoyancy. As the creature has never been spotted in the wild, the researchers were fairly surprised when they saw the footage initially. The footage was shot live on the Great barrier Reef.
Recorded at a depth of 850 to 860 meters, the squid has become the center of attention of biologists from around the world. The encounter has gained the attention of netizens as well. Many species live at such depths in the ocean that they have never been spotted in the wild. This makes spirula one of the few that have been spotted. What makes spirula special is that apart from cuttlefish, it’s the only known mollusc with a spiral-shaped shell inside to keep it buoyant. The spirula has a tightly coiled skeleton, which is extremely rare in nature.
Another surprising aspect of the video is the fact that the head of the spirula is facing upwards. This is weird because the buoyant shell is on the other end of its body. Whenever these squids have been put in an aquarium, they have oriented themselves with the head facing downwards. Therefore, if these cephalopods do it differently in the deep sea, it is a matter of interest for all the biologists out there. The squid also has a light-generating organ near the shell, which needs to be facing down to watch for any prey. This also supports the idea that in the wild, they might be orienting themselves that way.
The video also shows the squid possibly ejecting some ink when running away towards the end of the video. This is also interesting because this particular species has a reduced mechanism to produce ink when compared to other squids; this video proves that they not only produce ink but also use it for self-defense.