Richard G. Petty, MD

Giant Squid Uses Light as a Weapon

Over the centuries mariners have had an eerie fascination with giant squid, and there have been countless tales of ships being dragged to the depths by some enormous creature. I don’t know of any credible evidence that such a thing has ever happened, but it is clear that there are all manner of strange beasties living in the depths.

I have been reading that one of the world’s largest species of squid has been filmed for the first time hunting in the wild by Japanese researchers. The three foot long eight-armed squid, Taningia danae, was caught on camera as deep as 900m in waters off the Chichijima Islands in the north Pacific.

There’s a fascinating video here, that shows the squid circling and finally attacking a baited line that was lowered to depths of between 240 and 900 meters. A digital video camera that had been reinforced to withstand the pressure, was suspended next to the bait to capture the creature in action. On one of the squid’s arm-tips is an organ that produces bright flashes of light prior to attacking. In the intense blackness of the deep ocean, this probably blinds its prey.

Although interestingly the researchers also speculated that the lights might have another function as well: the squid emitted several short pulses of light as it swam around the torch lights from the research ship, possibly, they thought, in an attempt to court the vessel.

The research paper was published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B, it is available as a free download and contains four other video clips.

Now that wouldn’t have been possible in the days of paper journals.

And don’t let the videos scare you from going in the water: these squid would probably explode if they tried swimming to shallow water.

About Richard G. Petty, MD
Dr. Richard G. Petty, MD is a world-renowned authority on the brain, and his revolutionary work on human energy systems has been acclaimed around the globe. He is also an accredited specialist in internal and metabolic medicine, endocrinology, psychiatry, acupuncture and homeopathy. He has been an innovator and leader of the human potential movement for over thirty years and is also an active researcher, teacher, writer, professional speaker and broadcaster. He is the author of five books, including the groundbreaking and best selling CD series Healing, Meaning and Purpose. He has taught in over 45 countries and 48 states in the last ten years, but spends as much time as possible on his horse farm in Georgia.

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