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Can squids fly?

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In 1947, explorers noticed a strange phenomenon while crossing the Pacific Ocean. Somehow, small squid known to live deep beneath the waves kept appearing on the roof of their boat. The crew was mystified— until they saw the squids soaring above the sea for roughly 50 meters.

Can squids fly? And if so, how and why do they do it? It may be a survival skill that can help them escape predators. Watch this TED-Ed by Robert Siddall, with flying squids animated by Matt Reynolds: These squids can fly… no, really.

speedy squid
Plus, another question answered as we dig deeper:

Why did it take us so long to find out about these fantastic creatures? We may simply have not been looking closely enough – the ocean is vast, and human boats tend to be found close to shore, whereas flying squid species happily roam the ‘pelagic zone’ of the ocean. It’s the earth’s largest habitat at 1.4 billion cubic kilometers, and we’ve only explored 19% of it. Squid also tend prefer the dark (cephalopods have excellent eyes), so they swim deeper during the day and may be doing most of their flying at night, out of sight of birds and cameras.

flying squids at sunset
Watch more animals launch themselves from the water:
• Flying Fish, hunted underwater and in the air
• California Devil Rays Leap from the Pacific
• Emperor Penguins Speed Launch Out of the Water

Bonus: The Cephalopod Empire in Woods Hole, Massachusetts and Squid: Coming to Life, captured in microscopic detail.

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