Shell Oil Company Catches ‘Alien’ Squid on Camera

The alien-like Magnapinna squid, captured on remote video camera by the Shell Oil Company.

The 'alien-like' Magnapinna squid, captured on remote video camera by the Shell Oil Company.

An “alien-like” squid has been caught on camera, 2.5 kilometers underwater, in the Gulf of Mexico by the Shell Oil Company.

The video footage, recorded from a camera on a remotely operated vehicle (ROV), shows a rare Magnapinna squid with it’s long, shoulder-like arms dangling down below it. 

The footage, which had been circulating through the oil industry via email since November 2007 when it was taken, hadn’t been made public until National Geographic got hold of it earlier this week.

The squid has been dubbed the “Perdido squid” due to the fact that it was filmed at the Peridido drilling site. 

Species Unknown

Although it clearly belongs to the Magnapinna genus, it’s unclear which species the Peridido squid actually is. Both the M. M. atlantica and M. pacifica are known to inhabit the Gulf of Mexico so it is likely to be one of those.

This is the first time a Magnapinna squid has been sighted at an oil drilling site. 

Not much is known about the various Magnapinna species, as no intact adult specimen has ever been captured. 

Scientists speculate that their long arms are possibly used for feeding purposes. One theory is that the squid drags its arms along the seafloor to capture prey.  Another theory is that the squid simply waits for prey to get stuck on it’s long, dangly arms.

Due to the expense and difficulty in shooting underwater footage at these depths, some scientists have been entering formal partnerships with oil companies to share camera time on corporate ROVs.

Here’s the actual video footage taken from the ROV:

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