Mysterious squid caught on ocean floor in Gulf of California making out with her babies (VIDEO)

A mysterious squid is filmed protecting its young between its tentacles on the sea floor (MBARI/YouTube)

In the cold, dark waters of the Gulf of California, a strange squid cares for its brood.

By Clarion

Deep below the reach of sunlight, a remotely piloted vehicle captures a species of cephalopod that humans have never seen before. A bunch of eggs was clutched tightly in her hands.

It would be extraordinary on its own. There are some squid that hatch their eggs this way. But the eggs were unusually large, more than twice the size of eggs from other brooding squids, Science Alert reported.

“The deep sea is the greatest place for life on Earth, and there is still much to discover,” says marine scientist Steven Haddock of the Monterey Bay Fish Research Institute (MBARI).

“Our unexpected encounter with giant squid hatching eggs caught the attention of everyone in the ship's control room. “This remarkable insight underscores the diversity of ways animals adapt to the unique challenges of deep life.”

While the reproductive strategies of many squid species remain a mystery, the ones we do know typically have a “drop-and-run” parenting approach, where eggs are either dropped in giant, creepy-crawly balls of gelatinous mucus or directly deposited. Toward the ocean floor, science points to caution.

MBARI's advanced underwater robots discover deep-sea squid incubating giant eggs

But we still know very little about squid reproduction in the deeper parts of the ocean, where our research has barely penetrated.

With remotely piloted vehicles, we're starting to learn more. Researchers controlling these scientific vessels from the surface have found deep-sea squid carrying hundreds of eggs bound together in a sheet that can swim freely and fend for themselves.

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The recently reported squid and its young were spotted during a trip to the Gulf of California in 2015. During one of its dives, the ROV Doc Ricketts spotted the beast lurking in the bathypelagic at a depth of 2,566 meters. Zone, Science Alert says.

A mother with 40 eggs

Although the MBARI ROVs have spotted a total of 17 hatchling squid to date, most of them have small egg sheets and are estimated to carry up to 3,000 at a time.

This mother squid was carrying only a handful of eggs, perhaps 30 or 40, the researchers estimated. Each egg was as large as 11.7 millimeters in diameter.

It probably belongs to the Gonatidae or hook squid family. While this is the first brooding squid we know of with these large eggs, other species of squid that lay large eggs provide clues about the benefits of large eggs and more, Science Alert reports.

read more Clarion

Esmond Harmon

"Entrepreneur. Social media advocate. Amateur travel guru. Freelance introvert. Thinker."

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