Flying Squid

The scientific community has come to realize that there now may be another animal in nature that can control its movement while airborne; the squid. There are up to six species of squid that have been observed in nature to posses the ability to launch themselves around 2 meters high out of the water and then continue in the air for over 10 meters. This is an astonishing 50 times its own body length of about 20 centimeters long. They have on multiple occasions been observed stuck on boat decks with the owner not having a clue of where they came from, and now this phenomenon can be explained.

squid-can-fly

It is not fully known how the squid propels itself out of the water and how it controls its trajectory, but there are hypothesis that people suspect to be true. It is believed that the squid fills up with water while in the sea and then shoots out the water as a jet that has enough force to propel the squid out of the water. They can use this jet to propel themselves in the water to help them pounce on prey but it is believed that the squid propels itself out of the water with the jet in order to evade predators. This can be seen as the stream of water that follows the squid as it travels through the air.

What is so fascinating about the squid is that it can then supposedly manipulate how long it stays out of the water and what direction it wants to head towards by using its fins, tentacles, and the jet of water that they produce.

flying-squid

When the squid are in the air, it is believed that they can alter where it travels by flapping their fins and stretching out their tentacles. This is amazing because researchers would not classify what the squid does as gliding because gliding describes an action that is too passive to explain the squids active movements while airborne. Instead it is more appropriate to call the actions of the squid as flying because they can actually control themselves while in the air. They fly backwards with their tentacles and fins spread out almost acting like wings to provide balance. The jet of water that they produce and the flapping of their fins is also said to provide some lift and not to just enable gliding, which is something truly rare for an animal that lives in the sea.

With the discovery of the squids ability to propel themselves out of the water, there is now another animal that can be said to fly through the air if only for a little moment in time. The squid has perfected a perfect way to flea from predators and escape not only them but also the clutches of the sea. Hopefully they will find themselves landing back in the ocean, and not landing on the deck of an unsuspecting boat.

Sources:

  • http://badcontrol.net/top-10-most-unusual-flying-and-gliding-animal-creatures/
  • http://www.treehugger.com/files/2010/11/photographic-evidence-proves-that-squid-can-fly.php
  • http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=can-squid-fly
  • http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1338220/Graham-Ekins-Japanese-squid-photos-leap-air-dodge-predators.html

4 Comments

Nathan Provencher posted on October 12, 2011 at 4:23 pm

Oh my this is fascinating David! Great post!

Lorena Barba posted on October 12, 2011 at 6:34 pm

ha ha, Nathan is such a great buddy, isn’t he? :-)
OK, it’s a good post—funny how it got added to the blog 5 minutes into lecture time! (I guess I was still fiddling with the projector cables at the time, sigh!)

Lorena Barba posted on October 12, 2011 at 6:38 pm

Oh, and here is Sam’s post on the flying squid:
http://blogs.bu.edu/biolocomotion/2011/10/11/natures-mysterious-flyer/

Shahil Patel posted on October 16, 2011 at 5:10 pm

its really cool how they use their tentacles to steer