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Flying squid
February 23, 2012 2:08 PM   Subscribe

In 2010 from the deck of a cruise ship along the coast of Brazil, amateur photographer and retired geologist Bob Hulse snapped some high-resolution photographs of something unusual leaping from the sea: what appears to be dozens of squid propelling themselves through the air and at incredible speeds. Quite possibly the first time the impressive display had ever been caught on film. Researchers had suspected for sometime that squid can sometimes leave the water's surface. A 2004 study by University of Miami researchers collect six such sightings, but because the paper included no photographs or video clips its evidence was largely anecdotal. Documented instances of flying squid remained frustratingly rare.

The Hulse photographs changed all that. Ronald O’Dor, a marine biologist at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada, has analysed the images. Because Hulse documented the intervals of time between each photo, O’Dor and his colleagues were able to estimate the squid’s velocity and acceleration, and compare them with these values for squid in water. They found that the velocity in air while the orange-back squid (Sthenoteuthis pteropus) were propelling themselves via water jet was five times faster than than any measurements for comparable squid species in water.

Further evidence came from Julia Stewart, a marine biologist at Hopkins Marine Station of Stanford University in Pacific Grove, California, who uses tagging to track the movement of Humboldt squid (Dosidicus gigas). Her work found that they travelled faster than anyone expected. “The question this raised in my mind was, ‘Maybe they really are flying?’”

Not only can squid sometimes fly, but they do so to save energy while travelling long distances. Stewart and O'Dor presented their findings during this week's American Geophysical Union’s Ocean Sciences Meeting in Salt Lake City, Utah.
posted by 2bucksplus (51 comments total) 22 users marked this as a favorite

 
The closer look link from the first article gives a 404 error.
posted by vidur at 2:13 PM on February 23, 2012


Squid? Those are clearly TIE fighters.
posted by Sys Rq at 2:16 PM on February 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


Ferris Jabr, author of the Scientific American article, has giant photos on his blog.
posted by 2bucksplus at 2:18 PM on February 23, 2012 [4 favorites]


Invokes ideas for surrealist tampon commercials
posted by MangyCarface at 2:18 PM on February 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


Weird. I didn't know this wasn't an already well known thing.

I've seen a few different marine animals flying/gliding in the Pacific beyond flying fish. Bonito do it, too. I've seen small squid jetting/gliding as well. Some rays do it, too. I wouldn't be surprised if some billfish/swordfish do it as well, since they certainly will breach and leap fully clear of the water when hooked or startled.
posted by loquacious at 2:19 PM on February 23, 2012


So what you're saying is ...there's no escape?
posted by The Whelk at 2:22 PM on February 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


2bucksplus's linked photos remind me of the rods (aka skyfish) of cryptozoology fame. :)
posted by Celsius1414 at 2:23 PM on February 23, 2012 [3 favorites]


I guess I lost that bet.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 2:24 PM on February 23, 2012


So what you're saying is ...there's no escape?
posted by The Whelk at 4:22 PM on February 23 [+] [!]


I think we've got an infiltrator here.
posted by theodolite at 2:25 PM on February 23, 2012 [5 favorites]


o r'lyeh?
posted by jquinby at 2:28 PM on February 23, 2012 [25 favorites]


Everyone knows Cthulhu has wings while studiously ignoring the rather obvious question of what they're there for. Burrowing, folks. It's the only way.
posted by anigbrowl at 2:29 PM on February 23, 2012


Weird. I didn't know this wasn't an already well known thing.

I buried the lede a bit to tell the narrative story of how your science is made which was interesting to me. The new news is that squid move fast, really fast above water. So fast that long distance trips are significantly shorter than expected. And; "flying" is more efficient than swimming. Squid don't just do this to evade predators, flying is a longterm strategy.
posted by 2bucksplus at 2:31 PM on February 23, 2012 [4 favorites]


"Something many people have observed" and "something nobody has documented with photographs to date" are not mutually exclusive categories.

So bravo to this gentleman for actually capturing this on film for those of us who haven't seen it firsthand. OF COURSE I WILL NEVER SLEEP AGAIN
posted by Sidhedevil at 2:34 PM on February 23, 2012


This thread is making me hungry.
posted by Dr Dracator at 2:37 PM on February 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


O’Dor, a marine biologist

Something smells fishy...
posted by Sys Rq at 2:38 PM on February 23, 2012 [4 favorites]


Previously
posted by Kabanos at 2:41 PM on February 23, 2012


Squid don't just do this to evade predators, flying is a longterm strategy.

I am reasonably confident that when they rise up to slaughter us all, I will be among the few spared as I have never hungrily devoured their brethren.
posted by elizardbits at 2:44 PM on February 23, 2012 [3 favorites]


Great. Now I can't get that frickin' R. Kelly song out of my head. Thanks, squid.
posted by argonauta at 2:45 PM on February 23, 2012


Take THAT, Lizard People!
posted by briank at 2:46 PM on February 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


So they're called Orange-back Flying Squid (Sthenoteuthis pteropus) and we're suprised that they fly?
posted by DaddyNewt at 2:53 PM on February 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


Ferris Jabr, author of the Scientific American article, has giant photos on his blog.
posted by 2bucksplus at 9:18 AM on February 24 [+] [!]


Thanks. Desktop wallpaper has been changed.
posted by vidur at 2:58 PM on February 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


That is not dead which can eternal lie,
and with strange aeons squid may fly.

posted by empath at 3:00 PM on February 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


So this means there is a chance that giant squid fly as well? I must catch one and ride it into battle.
posted by TheRedArmy at 3:00 PM on February 23, 2012 [9 favorites]


What is the air speed velocity of an unladen flying squid?

Japanese, or Orange-back?

AAAAAAAAAAARGH!
posted by Kabanos at 3:02 PM on February 23, 2012


A flying giant squid swarm attack on your major coastal cities.
posted by stinkycheese at 3:02 PM on February 23, 2012


TheRedArmy: "So this means there is a chance that giant squid fly as well? I must catch one and ride it into battle"

In fact, this is the entire plot of Avatar 2.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 3:06 PM on February 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


Everyone knows Cthulhu has wings while studiously ignoring the rather obvious question of what they're there for. Burrowing, folks. It's the only way.

How else is he supposed to fly through the aether between worlds? THINK, man, THINK!
posted by Pope Guilty at 3:07 PM on February 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


if anyone has a personal jetpack it is totally cthulhu.
posted by elizardbits at 3:13 PM on February 23, 2012


i bet he can get green tea pocky out of season, too
posted by elizardbits at 3:14 PM on February 23, 2012


Christ, Joakim how bout a freakin spoiler alert?!
posted by TheRedArmy at 3:15 PM on February 23, 2012


This is an atrocity, and we must burn them all with holy fire.
posted by aramaic at 3:17 PM on February 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


But squid contrails, man. Bad stuff in there, believe me.
posted by Danf at 3:23 PM on February 23, 2012


I for one welcome our etc. etc.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 3:33 PM on February 23, 2012


Of course squid can fly. Just look at this.
posted by Smedleyman at 3:38 PM on February 23, 2012


The next step is steps. We're doomed.
posted by tommasz at 3:46 PM on February 23, 2012


There is an iphone game here somewhere...
posted by bottlebrushtree at 3:47 PM on February 23, 2012


I was too generous. It is not a matter of whether we must or must not burn them with holy fire. Whether there is an imperative or not. Whether we have free will or not.

No. There is no free will. All is imperative.

...we will burn them with holy fire.
posted by aramaic at 3:54 PM on February 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


Can you really trust an organization that holds an Ocean Sciences meeting in a landlocked state?
posted by mr_crash_davis at 4:10 PM on February 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


Well, the obviously aren't just blowing all their money on a beachfront hotel.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 4:20 PM on February 23, 2012


aramaic, can't we just sauteé them in the holy garlic butter instead? Burnt squid tastes horrible.
posted by drinkyclown at 5:10 PM on February 23, 2012 [5 favorites]


Well it's just a short step from this to TALKING SQUIDS IN OUTER SPACE.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 5:32 PM on February 23, 2012


This is kind of awesome. FLYING SQUID. daaaamn.
posted by rmd1023 at 5:44 PM on February 23, 2012


Fly, my pretties!
posted by Aquaman at 5:52 PM on February 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


Super Mario Bros players have known about it for decades.
posted by ersatz at 6:07 PM on February 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


A flying giant squid swarm attack on your major coastal cities.

"Cloverfield 2: The Giant Sucking Sound"
posted by IvoShandor at 7:02 PM on February 23, 2012


outstanding!
posted by LobsterMitten at 7:28 PM on February 23, 2012


I don't know if "flying" is the right term for the Illithid psionic power of levitation.
posted by Metro Gnome at 9:40 PM on February 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


When I look at the photos I imagine the funny sound they make

bbbbZZZzzzzrrrrrroooommmmm!
posted by BlueHorse at 10:01 PM on February 23, 2012


I like to eat squid.
posted by Meatbomb at 10:49 PM on February 23, 2012


Against the wall
i
posted by The Whelk at 11:19 PM on February 23, 2012


I was in Italy, in the Navy. Some crazy old salt thought he would freak me out getting me to eat "calamari" (back when few non-Italians in America knew the word). Ha! I fell in love with it instantly, of course. They are welcome to fly right into my dish of batter. Just let me heat up the friteuse.
posted by Goofyy at 9:33 AM on February 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


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