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‘Very Rare’ Footage of a Deep-Sea Squid on the Attack

The Dana octopus squid (Taningia danae) is one of the largest squids in the ocean. It can grow more than 7.5 feet long and weigh over 350 pounds. Despite being so big, scientists rarely observe this species in its natural habitat. Recent footage shows this deep-sea squid attacking a camera nearly a mile beneath the surface.

Scientists from The University of Western Australia (UWA) and Kelpie Geosciences got a surprise while reviewing footage from a free-fall baited camera north of the Samoan Passage in the Pacific Ocean. As the camera was dropping to the seafloor at about 2 MPH, a Dana octopus squid attacked it, capturing some really rare video.

“As we were reviewing the footage, we realized we had captured something very rare,” said chief scientist Heather Stewart from Kelpie Geosciences U.K. and an adjunct at UWA.

In the footage, the squid approaches the camera, spreads its tentacles wide and envelops it. You can see the squid’s large photophores (organs that produce bioluminescent light) flashing brightly. According to UWA, the Dana octopus squid has the largest known photophores in the natural world.

“The squid, which was about 75cm [2.5 feet] long, descended on our camera assuming it was prey, and tried to startle it with is huge bioluminescent headlights,” Stewart told UWA. After realizing the equipment wasn’t food, the squid released the camera and moved on.

Watch a deep-sea squid attack a camera here:

Researchers say most previous observations and records of this squid are from strandings, accidental bycatch, or from the stomach contents of whales. Therefore, being able to observe a live Dana octopus squid in the wild—especially one on the attack—is exciting.

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