Watch: Rare deep-sea squid lunges at camera

A rare deep-sea squid was recently captured on video at a depth of more than a kilometer underwater in the Pacific Ocean.

Scientists from The University of Western Australia and Kelpie Geosciences in the U.K. captured the footage when they were deploying free-fall baited cameras north of an area known as the Samoan Passage, located in the North Pacific.

After the camera was retrieved, researchers discovered that a deep-sea hooked squid called Taningia danae – an animal rarely seen in its natural habitat – was captured on video.

"As we were reviewing the footage, we realized we had captured something very rare," the team’s chief scientist Heather Stewart said in a statement. 

The footage shows the squid latching onto a free-fall baited camera.

Deep-sea hooked squid caught on camera

According to the team, a deep-sea hooked squid is one of the largest deep-water squid and is renowned for having two very large photophores on the end of two of its arms, which produce bright bioluminescent flashes to startle and disorientate prey when hunting. These are the largest known photophores in the natural world.

"The squid, which was about 75cm long, descended on our camera assuming it was prey, and tried to startle it with is huge bioluminescent headlights," Stewart continued. "It then proceeded to wrap its arms around one of other cameras which in turn captured the encounter in even greater detail. I think we were very lucky to have witnessed this."

hooked giant squid deep sea attacking camera

The footage shows the rare squid lunging at the camera before latching on to it. (Credit: UWA/Inkfish via Storyful)

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Professor Alan Jamieson, director of the Minderoo-UWA Deep Sea Research Centre, said observing deep-sea squid in their natural habitat, especially in the mid-water, is notoriously challenging.

"Many records of this species are from strandings, accidental bycatch or from the stomach contents of whales," Jamieson said. "The rarity of live observations of these amazing animals makes every encounter valuable in gathering information on geographic locations, depth, and behaviour, plus it is such a unique animal that we hardly ever get to see, so we had to share it."

The research ship RV Dagon is currently in its final few weeks of a three-month expedition. 

Their mission is to explore and document the biodiversity and geodiversity of the seafloor at depths between three and eight kilometers. 

This story was reported from Los Angeles. Storyful contributed.