On Wednesday, April 17, a group of marine biologists had a close encounter with a peculiar-looking squid in the Gulf of Mexico.
An Uncanny Creature
According to National Geographic, the Okeanos Explorer team found the interesting creature that was thousands of feet below the Gulf of Mexico. Crew members were recording their findings for the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration when their remote-controlled submarine stumbled upon the sea creature.
Several members of the crew were surprised by it. One of the team members stated that the creature looked like a vampire squid. The creature also had two pairs of horns on its head and stumpy arms. It perplexed the researchers as they had a hard time identifying it.
However, one of the team's researchers, Mike Vecchione, hypothesizes that the squid could be a part of a squid species known as Discoteuthis discus. This particular type of squid has been known to travel throughout the warmer parts of the Atlantic Ocean. The submarine did not collect the creature and continued on their expedition.
"Every time we catch [D. discus], it's so hard to tell what species it is. I've never seen one entire, or in good condition. If that's what it is, then it's the first time anybody's seen one alive," said Vecchione to National Geographic.
The NOAA's Gulf Of Mexico Mission
Finding the mystery squid was a part of the Okeanos Explorer's expedition into the Gulf of Mexico basin. Since Wednesday, April 11, NOAA has charged the team to explore the body of water. The team is searching for sea life, discovering habitats, and also exploring shipwrecks. The Okeanos Explorer team is expected to conclude its mission and return to the East Coast on May 3.
Marine Wildlife Corner
In addition to the Okeanos Explorer's crew of scientists, other researchers have been making discoveries about marine wildlife. Other researchers discovered a group of more than 100 octopuses beneath the ocean surface off of the coast of Costa Rica. The octopuses were protecting their eggs from an underwater volcano.
Another group of scientists discovered a dead sperm whale in Murcia, Spain. Over 64 pounds of plastic apparently was inside the sperm whale's body. Plastic bags, water containers, and pieces of net were discovered inside its stomach and intestines.
Meanwhile, earlier this year, the Journal of Experimental Biology reported that dolphins have been carefully planning their hunting dives. Researchers revealed that dolphins use information from their previous expeditions to predict where they could find food.
To see the squid in action, click on the video: