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Friday Cephalopod: WE HAVE LIFTOFF!

i-dcbf09c6dc38650b3e8f9de8a4d3a71d-ommastrephes_bartramii.jpeg
Ommastrephes bartramii

Via tolweb:

Ommastrephid squids are among the strongest swimmers in the Cephalopoda. Some are commonly known as “flying squid” due to their ability to glide over the ocean surface…

Comments

  1. #1 Anonymous
    May 15, 2009

    awesome

  2. #2 vespera
    May 15, 2009

    Awwwwesome. I want one.

  3. #3 azqaz
    May 15, 2009

    I love that they even spread and flatten ther tentacles out to increase their hang time. Now to go look up more about them.

  4. #4 Caveman73
    May 15, 2009

    Wow! That is so cool. I have never seen them out to sea. I’ve the flying fish but not the flying squid. Where or what ocean would you see them in? BTW I’m active duty Navy.

  5. #5 Multicellular
    May 15, 2009

    This so made my day. Totally pegged my awe meter.

  6. #6 NewEnglandBob
    May 15, 2009

    Couldn’t get it to smile for the picture?

  7. #7 Hannah
    May 15, 2009

    Wow – I totally didn’t know they could do that XD

  8. #8 Lorkas
    May 15, 2009

    Go click the Hovind iPod link. There’s now a video with an absurd argument for why the Grand Canyon must have formed during Noah’s flood.

  9. #9 Greg
    May 15, 2009

    That’s it we as may well surrender now. They’ve taken to the skies.

  10. #10 Lorkas
    May 15, 2009

    @#4

    ScienceDirect says that they are in the North Pacific.

  11. #11 Knockgoats
    May 15, 2009

    Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No! It’s Ommastrephes bartramii!

  12. #12 SC, OM
    May 15, 2009

    That is FANTASTIC. My favorite yet.

  13. #13 Magnus
    May 15, 2009

    We’re f*cked now.

  14. #14 TEO
    May 15, 2009

    I think this species is Sthenoteuthis oualaniensis

  15. #15 squall25
    May 15, 2009

    Quick. Where is the Mega Shark?

  16. #16 JJR
    May 15, 2009

    It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s a….flying SQUID?!

  17. #17 gillt
    May 15, 2009

    The question becomes: What can’t cephalopods do?

  18. #18 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    May 15, 2009

    Is there anything cephalopods won’t do?

  19. #19 Sven DIMilo
    May 15, 2009

    oh-so-cool.
    Check the resemblance between the webbed-tentacle shape and a sphinx moth.

  20. #20 Stephen Wells
    May 15, 2009

    They can fly. There’s nowhere to hide any more. Well, Arizona, I guess.

    Hmmm. Can we give a squid some hydrogen-production genes so as to produce a floating (flammable) tentacled gasbag? Silent and camouflaged in sky-blue, they drift and ripple through the skies, descending to grasp their prey and lift them skywards to feed. The Tentacled Rapture.

    —I probably need less coffee.

  21. #21 Larynx
    May 15, 2009

    There’s clearly a B-movie film right here!
    Does anyone know why it can ‘fly’?

  22. #22 Anon
    May 15, 2009

    Up in the air, Junior Squidman…

  23. #23 Evolving Squid
    May 15, 2009

    Is there anything cephalopods won’t do?

    As far as we know, they don’t strap bombs to themselves and explode in other schools of squids who have different invisible friends.

  24. #24 JackC
    May 15, 2009

    Too bad. Yesterday, this little cutie could have gotten a pair of nice Hang Time watchs from woot.com for only a couple of bucks.

    JC

  25. #25 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    May 15, 2009

    Holy Shit.

    I for one will welcome our flying squid overloards when then take over.

  26. #26 Moth Eyes
    May 15, 2009

    Larynx: Well, flying fish do it to evade predators, so that seems like a plausible purpose.

  27. #27 The Petey
    May 15, 2009

    The only thing I can think of is Sally Field

    And SQUIDGET as the Flying Nun

  28. #28 Chris Davis
    May 15, 2009

    Didn’t I see one of these on a T-shirt somewhere recently?

  29. #29 2 cents
    May 15, 2009

    Yikes! Compare it to a photo of predator drones like the US is using in Afghanistan. Very similar in configuration.

  30. #30 ice9
    May 15, 2009

    Amazing photograph.

    The trick is getting them to bounce from the flour into the hot oil. Get that licked and you’re good to go.

    ice

  31. #31 PsyberDave
    May 15, 2009

    See, this is how squids turn into birds. It is proof of evolution!

  32. #32 Sili
    May 15, 2009

    Great. I’m never going near water ever again.

    Re Ipod: can’t we get permanent link somewhere? I keep forgetting to go look for it.

  33. #33 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    May 15, 2009

    The question becomes: What can’t cephalopods do?

    Be un-delicious

  34. #34 tms
    May 15, 2009

    Wagner’s, Flight of the Valkyries is now running through my head.

    Thanks loads,

    T

  35. #35 Matt Heath
    May 15, 2009

    I think I speak for many of us when I say “ZOMFFSM!! That squid is fucking gliding!!!1″

  36. #36 Knockgoats
    May 15, 2009

    Hi, welcome back SC! New machine humming along well?

  37. #37 deviljelly
    May 15, 2009

    Which direction is it “flying in”? right to left? i.e. backwards?

  38. #38 bobxxxx
    May 15, 2009

    Perhaps these creatures can glide above the water thanks to natural selection. Their ancestors who could stay out of the water the longest didn’t become another animal’s lunch. Or maybe god magically gave them this ability.

  39. #39 SteveM
    May 15, 2009

    Which direction is it “flying in”? right to left? i.e. backwards?

    I assume it is flying to the left since that is the direction its water jet would propel it.

    What I want to see is whatever was chasing it that scared it enough to lauch itself out of the water.

  40. #40 Moggie
    May 15, 2009

    #34:

    Wagner’s, Flight of the Valkyries is now running through my head.

    I love the smell of squid in the morning.

  41. #41 Glen Davidson
    May 15, 2009

    So much for the UFO phenomenon. This even explains the abductions…

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/6mb592

  42. #42 SteveM
    May 15, 2009

    Didn’t I see one of these on a T-shirt somewhere recently?

    Anybody notice that this flying squid only has 6 arms? And people were complaining that the one on the T-shirt only had 6.

  43. #43 kamaka
    May 15, 2009

    Which direction is it “flying in”? right to left? i.e. backwards?

    Look at the water droplets.

    Why couldn’t I get a cool toy like that when I was a kid?

  44. #44 LanceR, JSG
    May 15, 2009

    Now if we can just put frickin’ lasers on their heads!

    1. Flying squid
    2. Flying squid with frickin’ lasers on their heads.
    3. ???
    4. WORLD DOMINATION! (and profit!)

  45. #45 LadyH
    May 15, 2009

    Did this photo get photoshopped? I looks like someone ran it thru the paint daubs filter.

  46. #46 SC, OM
    May 15, 2009

    Hi, welcome back SC!

    Hi! Thanks! (I was so happy to see you’d returned a couple of weeks ago – missed you terribly in some of the political discussions.)

    New machine humming along well?

    So far! I can’t seem to get the battery to lock in place as I assume it should, but other than that I’m loving it.

  47. #47 Fred the Hun
    May 15, 2009

    It’s an adolescent Vorlon having a bit of fun!

    Vorlons are still insubstantial beings of light; however they appear to be cephalopods equipped with two rows of tentacles. It is disputed if there is any physical substance left in a Vorlon whatsoever and it is also very unlikely that this is the form to which they originally evolved millions of years ago. Whether the change to such powerful beings was a natural one resulting from reaching a certain level of mental or physical advancement or if it was helped along by technological means is unknown.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vorlon

  48. #48 Anonymous
    May 15, 2009

    It’s. So. Cute.

  49. #49 David Marjanovi?, OM
    May 15, 2009

    The question becomes: What can’t cephalopods do?

    Live in freshwater.

    Anybody notice that this flying squid only has 6 arms?

    There are actually 8. Follow the link to the source. (Still, 8 and not 10.)

  50. #50 Kat
    May 15, 2009

    I wonder how you would express “WHEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!” in cephalopod?

    ….because that’s got to be what that little guy is feeling…

  51. #51 Kevin Schreck
    May 15, 2009

    I didn’t know that this species was so colorful. Lovely!

  52. #53 AdamK
    May 15, 2009

    Now THAT’s transcendent!

  53. #54 Sven DIMilo
    May 15, 2009

    I see no reason to think that it doesn’t have 8 arms + 2 tentacles like all the other decapodiform cephalopods do.

  54. #55 meh1963
    May 15, 2009

    > Is there anything cephalopods won’t do?

    Touch-type. Or fly by instruments only.

  55. #56 Tik
    May 15, 2009

    My first thought was of the Cuttlefish comic from xkcd. Amazing creatures are everywhere.

  56. #57 knathon
    May 15, 2009

    And to think some Ommastrephids are 7-foot long, have a temper and are invading into Pacific Northwestern coast of the US

  57. #58 Brownian, OM
    May 15, 2009

    What’s the big deal? My 1.3 average in biology led me to believe all squid fly.

    Show me a bird that can run really fast or a reptile that lives in the ocean and maybe then I’ll be impressed.

  58. #59 Happy Tentacles
    May 15, 2009

    I love the flying squid! And it doesn’t even need quantum wings to do it! Next step – world domination by the Tentacled Overlords…

  59. #60 Tik
    May 15, 2009

    There are ten legs in the photo. Distribution in the photo appears to be left to right 1a 2a 1a+1t 1a+1t 2a 1a, where a=arm and t=tentacle. Membranes appear to connect the appendages to the two adjacent appendages. Think of a flattened umbrella.

  60. #61 SteveM
    May 15, 2009

    There are actually 8. Follow the link to the source. (Still, 8 and not 10.)

    Yes, I did before, 6 arms and the 2 tentacles are fused together so I didn’t know if they still count as 2 or one, or even if they still work as a tentacle. So is this actually a heptapus?

    I see no reason to think that it doesn’t have 8 arms + 2 tentacles like all the other decapodiform cephalopods do.

    Sven, click on the photo to see that it is not a decapod.

  61. #62 Brownian, OM
    May 15, 2009

    Is there anything cephalopods won’t do?

    Sort my whites and colours, apparently.

    Look at this. My favourite shirt, ruined. And is this ink?!

    [To the Humboldt Squid wearing a maid’s uniform]
    That’s it! Back to the Sea of Cortés with you! And you can forget about ever getting that green card!

    Goddamn employment agency told me I was getting a Diablo Rojo–I thought it was some sort of sentient vacuum.

  62. #63 shamar
    May 15, 2009

    Awesome picture…thanks for posting PZ :-)

  63. #64 Pierce R. Butler
    May 15, 2009

    Can we have a video of that, please?

    Scored with The Ride of the Valkyries?

  64. #65 Religion? Brand Brain Staples
    May 15, 2009

    This made my day. Absolutely amazing.

  65. #66 Steve_C
    May 15, 2009

    I love how the tentacles are posed perfectly for flight. Great color too.

  66. #67 Sven DIMilo
    May 15, 2009

    I tis a decapodiform, taxonomically (as are all cephalopods except nautilids, octopuses, and the vampire “squid”).
    If you are counting arms on the illustration of the larva, there is a stubby pair of #5 arms behind the fused tentacles (=#4).

  67. #68 Sven DIMilo
    May 15, 2009

    …and the tentacles come unfused during ontogeny.

  68. #69 Pierce R. Butler
    May 15, 2009

    My apologies to earlier commenters on having missed previous Valkyries requests.

    On repeated viewing, our flying friend here must also be complimented for such a tasteful color scheme. It’s very rare for blue and orange to look good together.

    Excuse me, there’s a knock at the door…

    *is beaten to a pulp by University of Florida cheerleaders*

  69. #70 Sven DIMilo
    May 15, 2009

    *is beaten to a pulp by University of Florida cheerleaders*

    video?

  70. #71 John
    May 15, 2009

    That’s completely awesome. Has anyone ever gotten video of them doing that?

  71. #72 RBH
    May 15, 2009

    The first time I heard of these critters was when I read Kon Tiki in the 1950s. Thor Heyerdahl described them flying aboard the raft. IIRC, at least one landed on the roof of the raft’s shelter, meaning it got on the order of two meters above the water.

  72. #73 SC, OM
    May 15, 2009

    On repeated viewing, our flying friend here must also be complimented for such a tasteful color scheme. It’s very rare for blue and orange to look good together.

    I’ve always thought whoever designed the Frederic Fekkai packaging did a nice job with the combination (OK, so it’s more of a terra cotta, but still, it’s a cool Mediterranean feel):

    http://www.fekkai.com/collection/marine-hair

  73. #74 SteveM
    May 15, 2009

    I tis a decapodiform, taxonomically (as are all cephalopods except nautilids, octopuses, and the vampire “squid”).
    If you are counting arms on the illustration of the larva, there is a stubby pair of #5 arms behind the fused tentacles (=#4).

    Yes, I was looking at the larva diagram. I stand corrected, thanks, Sven.

  74. #75 Pareidolius
    May 15, 2009

    Open the cephalopod bay doors HAL.

  75. #76 Chant
    May 15, 2009

    You’ll believe a squid can fly…

  76. #77 Strider
    May 15, 2009

    Stunningly lovely.

  77. #78 SteveM
    May 15, 2009

    I tis a decapodiform, taxonomically (as are all cephalopods except nautilids, octopuses, and the vampire “squid”).
    If you are counting arms on the illustration of the larva, there is a stubby pair of #5 arms behind the fused tentacles (=#4).

    Yes, I was looking at the larva diagram. I stand corrected, thanks, Sven.

  78. #79 SteveM
    May 15, 2009

    Sorry for the double comment. Nothing to do with Scienceblog’s famous “black screen of posting delay”.

  79. #80 Penguin_Factory
    May 15, 2009

    What the hell? Is that thing real? 0_o

  80. #81 amphiox
    May 15, 2009

    That is an amazing picture. It is so brightly colored that for a minute I had to do a double-take, thinking it looked like a plastic model.

    Re: Fred the Hun #47, and any other B5 fans out there,
    In the one scene shown of a (well two, actually) Vorlon in its natural state (ie not trying hide its appearance somehow), I think it’s a toss up as to whether they resemble cephalopods the most, or hydra. Their spaceships, of course, are clearly cephalopod derived (and as organic vessels, they might even BE cephalopods). Perhaps that was the real reason they visited earth at all, all that rest about manipulating genomes and breeding telepaths being so much misdirection.

  81. #82 Ragutis
    May 15, 2009

    Why should Exocoetidae have all the fun?

    That is quite awesome, PZ. And gorgeous to boot. Thanks!

  82. #83 RickK
    May 15, 2009

    Stupid question from someone who is tentacle-challenged:

    Is the “c” in cephalapod hard or soft? Is it “sephalapod” or “kephalapod”?

  83. #84 kamaka
    May 15, 2009

    sephalopod

  84. #85 Ragutis
    May 15, 2009

    It’s k, like in Krzyzewski.

    ;p

  85. #86 Number8Dave
    May 15, 2009

    I think TEO (#14) might be right. This looks a bit slender to be Ommastrephes bartramii. I remember seeing one that we caught while midwater trawling off the west coast of New Zealand (Taranaki) when I was doing my field work on enoploteuthids. It was a massive thing, almost a metre long and very bulky. And blood red – must’ve been very pissed off.

  86. #87 goldra
    May 15, 2009

    Wonderful stuff. Symmetry in motion.

  87. #88 Tom Foss
    May 15, 2009

    It’s not often I see a genuine picture that looks so blatantly photoshopped. I guess reality is unrealistic.

  88. #89 MadScientist
    May 15, 2009

    It’s beautiful! I wonder if it tastes good. I thought it was an animal created with a photo editor.

  89. #90 Rowan
    May 15, 2009

    Breathtakingly beautiful.

  90. #91 José
    May 15, 2009

    See, this is how squids turn into birds. It is proof of evolution!

    If birds evolved from squid, why are there still squid?

  91. #92 Blake Stacey
    May 15, 2009

    Incidentally. . .

    A rather over-the-top mad scientist, the Octopus worked from a big city hospital and plotted world conquest. His appearance might explain his desire to dominate the world; he?s sea-green, with four “suction-cupped weaving tentacles” set above “hideously malformed” legs.

    With pictures.

  92. #93 amphiox
    May 15, 2009

    RickK #83: In the parts where I hail from, the “c” is soft, but I don’t presume to speak for all places and languages.

    But at any rate, a squid by any other pronunciation would taste just as sweet.

    And an Old One by any other feeble attempt at correlation would be just as pitiless.

  93. #94 James McCann
    May 15, 2009

    I never realized squid were beautiful before.

  94. #95 atomjack
    May 15, 2009

    “I’m learning to fly, but I don’t have wings…”

    Yes, I’m currently listening to Pink Floyd.

    Given the brain/body ratio, this fella must actually be levitating. Sweet stuff abounds on this site!

  95. #96 thiolsulfate
    May 16, 2009

    CTHULHU FHTAGN

  96. #97 Lee
    May 16, 2009

    Ah, memories… squid and flying fish

    I once sailed in the TransPac yacht race from southern California to Hawaii in a 40′ sailboat.

    Once we got down into the tropics, flying fish were common – the pressure wave at the bow would startle them into flying, presumably to get away for the large predator’ our boat felt like. In the day, they would generally fly directly away form the boat – but at night, they seemed to be attracted to the boat, perhaps from instrument lights or moonlight, glinting off the sails. We would find them when they flew into the sails and then fell into the boat.

    We never saw a squid in the day – but at night, they seemed to be at the surface, and reacted the same as the flying fish. We would sometimes collect a couple dozen from the cockpit – usually after we found them by putting a hand on one, is stepping on it with our sea boots and sliding across the deck. Little guys, 3- 5″ long, but they jumped and ‘flew’ well enough to come aboard in decent numbers,for several nights in a row.

    At one 2 am watch change, the watch captain carried a handful of small squid when he went below to wake the next watch, and dropped one squid into each sea boot as he was doing it. Squish. Obscenities. Good times.

    That same night, I was on helm when a pair of flying fish bracketed my head, one on each side within a foot of me. Those guys move really fast – it would have really hurt if they hit me. About 10 minutes later, a squid hit me in the side of the face – thought at first it was a flying fish, and it scared the bejeebers out of me.

  97. This is a beautiful animal. So colourful, it looks like it’s made of glass.

    Nevertheless, I can’t help but wonder why it isn’t swimming in garlic butter on my plate right now.

  98. #100 pra
    May 16, 2009

    that’s awesome. I wonder they will evolve active flying some day. Maybe with some kind of biological jet engine, powered by modified ink glands? :D

  99. #101 Fred the Hun
    May 16, 2009

    I wonder they will evolve active flying some day. Maybe with some kind of biological jet engine, powered by modified ink glands? :D

    If you ever see them in their natural habitat hovering, darting etc… you will understand that that is exactly what they do. Its just that the fluid is liquid not gaseous.

  100. #102 Fred the Hun
    May 16, 2009

    Except for the modified ink glands…

  101. #103 Aerik
    May 16, 2009

    Looks like a fishing lure. Mwa ha ha.

  102. #104 Sven DiMilo
    May 16, 2009

    “I’m learning to fly, but I don’t have wings…”
    Yes, I’m currently listening to Pink Floyd.

    isn’t that Tom Petty though?

  103. #105 Menyambal
    May 16, 2009

    Beautiful!

    I remember the first and only time I ever saw flying fish, but I never imagined flying squidlets. Wow.

    I thought at first that leaping into the air would expose the little guys to bird attacks, but I bet they catch the birds by surprise. (Reminds me of a thought while reading about Edicarian life–at that early stage of evolution, being up against the water’s surface was a good idea, as there was NOTHING above the water.

    _Learning to Fly_ is Floyd.

  104. #106 Sven DiMilo
    May 16, 2009
  105. #107 astrounit
    May 17, 2009

    OH, man, I very nearly missed this one!

    I’ve been wanting to see a decent picture of one of those legendary critters in gliding flight for over 40 years after I first heard about them!

    For a few decades there I was beginning to think the tales a little exaggerated…even after examing some specimens that, sure enough SEEMED to have the accroutrements, although the winged airfoil action of the WEBBED TENTACLES – in ADDITION to the fins on the mantle – never quite gelled in my mind how they would be deployed so BEAUTIFULLY LIKE THAT!!!

    If I had visualized anything NEARLY resembling anything like what I’m now looking at right now, I would have dismissed it as a fantasy.

    I
    am
    KNOCKED
    RIGHT
    OUT.

    I mean, I can’t even get over how it arranges its tentacles to shed water efficiently…NOW I can see what’s going on….

    POSITIVELY GORGEOUS.

    Thank you PZ for scaring this one up for us!

    Absolutely stunning. Now I KNOW some squids DO take to the air, and with MAGNIFICENT AERODYNAMIC GRACEFULNESS (instead of merely jumping out of the water).

  106. #108 sarah
    May 17, 2009

    have you ever heard of the tree octopus it has a website but it is so fake but this is so cool and real!!!!!!!!!!!!

  107. #109 a lurker
    May 17, 2009

    Time for a “Friday” creationist: Todd Wood mentions sometime he likes to eat. Also he keeps up is “Sadly, an Honest” reputation with his comment on a recently discovered transitional fossil.

  108. #110 Sven DiMilo
    May 17, 2009

    You said it, sarah!
    Take a look at the archives–every Friday there’s another more-or-less equally cool animal posted.

  109. #111 Sven DiMilo
    May 17, 2009

    From Todd’s Blog (linked in #109):

    Why all the similarity in creation? Why do I have proteins significantly similar to those of bacteria? Whence the “vertebrate archetype?” I think God wants us to know something about Him, but I can’t quite see what it is. Sometimes this question is frustrating because I haven’t yet figured out how to ask the right question. I think I’m close to an answer, but then… not. Like I’m hovering on the verge of eureka. It’s hard to explain….Figure that one out and the answers to most of our other questions will just fall into our laps. We’ll be able to see what the created kinds are and how to recognize them. We’ll instantly see the places where creation went “wrong” and that will tell us how it happened. Knowing the created kinds will make biogeography semi-intelligible. And chimps – we’ll know why God made chimps (and Australopithecines, but I’d just be happy understanding the chimp genome).
    So in the end, I guess I’m searching for the voice of God, the words He etched into creation.

    or…hmmmmm. If only there was a simple, straightforward explanation that was consistent with all of the physical evidence. But what single idea could possibly be the answer to all those questions?

    It’s a real puzzler.

  110. #112 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    May 17, 2009

    Right Sven, science uses evidence. The intellectually challenged add in their presupposed god and think they have made a breakthrough that the scientists refuse to see. Todd must demonstrate the physical evidence for his god first. I’ll bet he just can’t see the need to show evidence.

  111. #113 a lurker
    May 17, 2009

    I submitted the following to Fark.com:

    (Sadly an Honest Creationist)
    Weird
    Creationist “biologist” charged up by God’s grace, the smell of rain, and eating grilled octopus. Wonders “Why do I have proteins significantly similar to those of bacteria?” If only some theory covered that

    I would have loved to have it as some theory that could explain the similarities and differences between different types of organisms but that would have made the headline too long. (And also one of my pet peeves is always mentioning that evolution can explain similarity without mentioning it can explain the who pattern of both similarities and differences. The common creator might explain some similarities, but not the who tapestry.

  112. #114 a lurker
    May 17, 2009

    The last two words of my last comment should be “whole tapestry” and not “who tapestry”. Sorry about that.

  113. #115 numba-1-stunna
    May 18, 2009

    OMG that pic is so obv fake

  114. #116 Arid
    May 19, 2009

    What an amazing photo!

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