- News Home
17 April 2014 12:48 pm ,
Vol. 344 ,
Officials last week revealed that the U.S. contribution to ITER could cost $3.9 billion by 2034—roughly four times the...
An experimental hepatitis B drug that looked safe in animal trials tragically killed five of 15 patients in 1993. Now,...
Using the two high-quality genomes that exist for Neandertals and Denisovans, researchers find clues to gene activity...
A new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concludes that humanity has done little to slow...
Astronomers have discovered an Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone of a red dwarf—a star cooler than the sun—500...
Three years ago, Jennifer Francis of Rutgers University proposed that a warming Arctic was altering the behavior of the...
- 17 April 2014 12:48 pm , Vol. 344 , #6181
- About Us
Video: Deep-Sea Squid Goes Fishing in the Dark
27 August 2013 7:15 pm
The two wimpy tentacles dangling from the squid species Grimalditeuthis bonplandi have long baffled marine biologists. How can the creature use these long, unusually nonmuscular projections—which also lack hooks or suckers—to capture prey? The first videos of the squid in its deep-sea environment strongly suggest that the answer is simple: It doesn’t. Instead, researchers contend, it uses them to lure prey within range of its other eight arms, which are shorter and much more muscular. In seven videos made by remotely operated vehicles (one off the California coast, six near oil platforms in the Gulf of Mexico), the researchers observed G. bonplandi wriggling the fleshy clubs on the ends of its tentacles in a way that resembles the undulations of a small, swimming animal (see video). Even though no footage shows the squid actually catching a meal, the squirming tentacle tips could attract prey in several ways, the researchers suggest today in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B. Motions of the clubbed tips could stimulate bioluminescence in microorganisms or small creatures swimming nearby, which could in turn entice larger prey suitable for the squid. (An analysis of museum-preserved specimens hints that G. bonplandi eats small crustaceans and juvenile squid, possibly even those of its own species.) Or, the wrigglings could create pressure vibrations that directly invite prey to draw near. Finally, small swirls shed from the tentacle tips as they trail through the water could serve as a trail of bread crumbs that leads a potential victim—merrily searching for a meal of its own—to its doom. Any one of these techniques, or a combination, could work; many other deep-sea creatures are known to use similar tricks. But until cameras actually catch the squid catching a meal, the researchers caution, the ideas they’ve put forth are just speculation.