Researchers capture rare bioluminescent deep-sea squid on video


A team of highly skilled marine researchers from the Minderoo-UWA Deep Sea Research Center recently captured footage of a fascinating encounter with a rare deep-sea hooked squid (Taningia danae). During their expedition, the squid mistook the camera bait used by the team for prey, providing a unique opportunity to observe its behavior up close. The video was expertly filmed at a depth of approximately 1 kilometer underwater in the South Pacific Ocean, specifically north of the Samoa Strait.

With expert precision, the 75cm-long squid effortlessly seized the end of the camera and swiftly disappeared into the depths.

Much of the data on this species comes from strandings, incidental bycatch, or whale stomach contents. The rarity of live sightings of these amazing animals makes each encounter a valuable source of information about geographic location, depth and behavior. This is such a unique animal that we rarely see it, so we had to share it.

— Alan Jamieson, Research Director

While it may not be the largest squid out there, it still holds its own when it comes to size. The deep sea hook squid is equipped with two large photophores on its tentacles, allowing it to expertly disorient its prey. Photophores are the most prominent organs of this kind in the animal kingdom. These organs are a common feature among deep-sea creatures, particularly predators, showcasing their impressive bioluminescence.


The squid descended on our camera, thinking it was prey, and tried to scare it with its huge bioluminescent “headlights”.

— Heather Stewart, team chief scientist

When observing the squid, notice how it expertly directs its photophores towards the camera. With expert precision, the invertebrate swiftly released its grip on the camera and gracefully swam out of the frame, leaving its prey behind.

Meanwhile, the research vessel RV Dragon is in the final weeks of a three-month expedition exploring the New Canon Trench in the Pacific Ocean with expertise and finesse. The team explores the depths, searching for signs of life and captivating underwater geographic formations.


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