Squids Can Fly!

Flying Squid

Photo: Wiki Commons/CC License. From Mother Nature Network.

In 2001, marine biologist Silvia Macia along with her husband Michael Robinson saw an unusual incident.  They had just witnessed a squid “flying” above the water (yes, above!).  After discovering this magnificent discovery, they started research on squids;  they asked whether any researchers have seen such a thing, a flying squid.  This eventually leads to a study and along with other researchers, they find out that at least six different kind of squid species have been seen flying: squirting itself out of the water to fly above the water.

Group of flying squid off the coast of Brazil. Notice the jets of water propelling the squid through the air. Image: Bob and Deb Hulse, from Scientific American.

It was discovered that these squids fly similar to the flying fish that have been discovered already.  With the exception that squids use their mantle fins as wings.  Some squids have also been seen pushing water out of their funnels to create propulsion when they are in the air.  The key for the squid to get out of the water is jet propulsion.  The squid fills up with water then expands its mantle (the cloak of soft tissue that surrounds the body) and shoots it out of its funnel (the flexible tube located below its head).  And using the squid’s funnel, positioning it, to change the direction of where the squid is heading. The squids are able to jet up 2 meters above the water and can go forward for as long as 10 meters.

Scientists have said that the squids are seen flying because they are running away from a predator.  The discovery by Macia is probably because of the boat noise that caused the squid to react and flee.  Squids use this advantage to escape danger.

There hasn’t been any physics discovered on how the squids do fly yet, but it is indeed true.  This discovery is one of many coming.  Evolution has caused the squid to survive, learning to use their mantle and funnel to “fly”.

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2 Comments

Lorena Barba posted on November 17, 2011 at 8:43 pm

Hi Jenny,
I added the sharing buttons at the top (the code for that is in Blackboard). Not much is known about this strange creature, it seems. Ugly-looking!

Lorena Barba posted on November 17, 2011 at 8:48 pm

And for reference, here are links to the previous posts on the flying squid:
- by David DeCaprio
http://blogs.bu.edu/biolocomotion/2011/10/12/flying-squid/
- by Sam Nichols
http://blogs.bu.edu/biolocomotion/2011/10/11/natures-mysterious-flyer/