ocean-explorers-eye-whiplash-squid-that-looks-like-h-p-lovecraft-creation

Ocean Explorers Eye ‘Whiplash Squid’ that Looks Like H.P. Lovecraft Creation


National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) scientists have observed a creature straight out of an H.P. Lovecraft nightmare: a crimson-colored ‘whiplash squid’ with tentacles that look downright demonic.


Using a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) scientists at the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have observed a creature straight out of an H.P. Lovecraft nightmare: a crimson-colored ‘whiplash squid’ with undulating fins that hypnotize and stringy tentacles that look downright demonic.

NOAA—a scientific and regulatory agency within the Department of Commerce that forecasts weather, monitors oceanic and atmospheric conditions, charts the seas, conducts deep sea exploration, and manages fishing and protection of marine mammals—recently posted the above video to its YouTube channel. The agency notes in the video’s description that this particular whiplash squid (or Mastigoteuthis agassizii) was discovered amidst a flurry of “marine snow.” I.e. a shower of organic material falling from upper waters to the deep ocean.

Image: oceanexploregov

Although the NOAA did not provide much context for this whiplash squid sighting, the bizarre and haunting cephalopods are fairly ubiquitous in the deep underwater world; found in both the mesopelagic and bathypelagic zones (which define depths of the open sea’s “water column”) of most oceans. When fully grown, adult whiplash squids end up inhabiting the water at a depth of approximately 3,000 to 5,000 feet. The NOAA notes this is “possibly to avoid being eaten by whales.”

As for this particular specimen, it’s a real monster of the deep. At least from a distance, anyway. The squid’s lengthy tentacles—which are able to retract into membranous lateral sheaths and are literally “whip-like”—and its very large ovate (or egg-shaped) fins make the squid look like it’s lurking. Or hunting. Or both. It’s dark saucer eyes don’t do much to help with the evil aesthetic either.

In the video immediately above is another example of the whiplash squid captured by NOAA scientists. That one, observed in June of 2021 at a depth of 3,380 feet off the coast of Rhode Island, looks a bit more goofy than haunting, and would probably serve better as inspiration for an episode of SpongeBob rather than a turn-of-the-19th-century horror story.


Feature image: oceanexploregov

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