Researchers Found Rare Giant Squid and Glow-in-the-Dark Sharks
Wed, April 21, 2021

Researchers Found Rare Giant Squid and Glow-in-the-Dark Sharks


Aside from it being a great tourist destination, New Zealand is also known as the giant squid capital of the world. These creatures will be a massive deal to whoever catches them. However, there’s only a few caught off the country. Thus, researchers from the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) were surprised to catch a rare giant squid during their expedition in the Chatham Rise area east of New Zealand.


Photo Credits:: All That's Interesting


The expedition primarily aimed to survey commercially popular Hoki fish and to catch some highly elusive glow-in-the-dark sharks. Catching a 13-foot-long squid was not part of their plan. “It’s only the second one I’ve ever seen. I’ve been on about 40 trips on Tangaroa, and most surveys are about a month, and I’ve only ever seen two. That’s pretty rare,” NIWA fisheries scientist Darren Stevens said. 


Photo Credits: All That's Interesting


The rare giant squid has fascinating physical features: sharp beak, which it uses to kill fish; eight long arms, and the largest eyes in the entire animal kingdom at 10 inches in diameter. The researchers took the animal’s head, eyes, stomach, and reproductive organs for research purposes. They also got the bone structure in its head, which will be used to determine the age of the squid. “Currently, there’s no good way to age a giant squid. It’s thought they live for more than one year, that’s for sure. Maybe they live for three or four, but no one really knows,” Stevens said.


Photo Credits: All That's Interesting


The researchers, led by Dr. Jérôme Mallefet of the Université Catholique de Louvain in Belgium, were also lucky to capture the very first evidence of bioluminescent sharks ever recorded in New Zealand waters. According to All That’s Interesting, a site for curious people who want to know more about what they saw on the news or read in history books, the scientists discovered southern lantern sharks, lucifer dogfish, and seal sharks that usually produce blue light, with green being an outlier. 

The discovery was a big deal because only 11% of known shark species can emit this type of light. At the same time, they are difficult to capture since the sharks typically live in the dark depths of more than 656 feet below the surface. “I was so happy. I was dreaming to get pictures of bioluminescent sharks [on the voyage] and I got them,” Dr. Mallefet said.




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