What do you get when you cross squid-mania with fractal art? "Mandelbrotopus! Octomandelpus! Cephalbrotopod! Fractalpod! Fractalpus! Iteratopod! Octomandelfractalpusopod!" to quote ScienceBlogs reader and wildlife photographer, Martin Richard. Of course, Martin was refering to Mandelbrot sets and octopi, and today we have a bioluminescent squid and a Nova Julia set. So, perhaps we should call it Squidlyglofractolopod! Or Cephanovataninga? Maybe Julioctonovadanae? Well, whatever you want to call it, this week's fractal is quite tentacle-like:
Unfortunately, my fractal tentacles don't quite display the same symmetry as those surrounding the gaping maw of this strange squid:
A bio-luminescent squid, Taningia danae, looking a wee bit hungry.
This fascinating squid has lidded photophores at tips of some of its arms--imagine having glowing eyeballs on your hands, and you'll get the idea. Earlier this week, Japanese researchers caught one of these amazing creatures on video. A few others around ScienceBlogs have already discussed the video, along with descriptions and detailed color frames. If you haven't yet caught a glimpse of this beautiful creature in action, check it out here. (It was only a matter of time before someone uploaded it to YouTube.)
What I found most interesting about the video footage was the squid's spiral path around the bait. Many birds of prey circle above their kill, spiraling in for the final blow. I wonder if the squid had not been suddenly distracted by the camera, if it would have continued closing in on the bait like an eagle. Is it just coincidence? Or is the spiral simply an efficient path through air or water, exploited by animals? Perhaps we're the clumsy ones, landing our crafts in straight lines... and maybe, someday, we'll find we have something to learn from the avians and the cephalopods.
Does PZ know you're cutting in on his Friday cephalopod blogging? ;^)
Ahh, I'm the type of gal who loves to live dangerously. Besides, *he* got to meet Benoit Mandelbrot!