Friday Squid Blogging: Flying Squid

Ommastrephid squids "glide over the ocean surface."

Posted on June 5, 2009 at 4:18 PM • 15 Comments


Wiskers in MenloJune 5, 2009 5:36 PM

Marvelous, but what does this have to do with a secure proxy server.

spinJune 5, 2009 8:23 PM

Nice photo. Best example of a natural canard configuration I've ever seen.

vaderJune 6, 2009 7:06 AM

Are you sure that is not a hoax? In the only picture showing the flying squid foreground and background are very unrelated, and you don't see were the squid left the water.

Furthermore I doubt the propulsion apparatus of squid can provide the necessary speed to leave water and get the squid gliding (especially with that ratio of mass to lifting sufaces).

Does anybody have another source for this?

DaveCJune 7, 2009 4:28 PM

@Aguirre: I agree, looks shopped.

However, they can and do glide in the air for a distance.

I once got hit in the chest by a flying fish while in a boat.

vaderJune 7, 2009 7:43 PM

> I once got hit in the chest by a flying fish while in a boat.

What does that prove about squids?

> Not that wikipedia's definitive...

No, it ain't. I still believe, it's a hoax. Perhaps rather long term and elaborate, but none the less. E.g. the Humboldt squid ist linked a "Jumbo flying squid". At the Humbold squid page (humbold suid is, AFAIR a rather common squid) there's of course no mention of flying or gliding. One would expect, wouldn't one?
Somehow this all smells fishy. And no explanation why a squid should be able to glide with such a bad ratio of lifting surface to mass, much worse than that of a flying fish.

No, I don't believe it-

ModeratorJune 7, 2009 11:26 PM

Vader, you should look into what the Tree of Life Web Project is. Their articles are written by biologists, and they're not given to hoaxes.

Or you can read about it on p. 79 of Hanlon and Messenger's _Cephalopod Behaviour_:

"Sometimes jetting takes a squid out of the water and there are several 'flying' squids known (e.g. oegopsids such as Onychoteuthis spp., Dosidicus gigas and some other ommastrephids); these animals may then glide tens of metres... but they do not have fins especially well modified for gliding and thus do not glide nearly as far as flying fishes."

vaderJune 8, 2009 4:07 PM

> Their articles are written by biologists, and they're not given to hoaxes.

And they authenticate their contributors how?

Never mind. Perhaps I'm wrong. But I can't find a even genuinely looking picture of a flying squid.

Neon Flying SquidJune 10, 2009 12:19 PM

Just in case folks are still monitoring this thread.
They do indeed glide over the water.

(1993) The role of neon flying squid Ommastrephes bartrami, in the North Pacific ... (Cephalopoda) in the North Pacific ocean. Marine Biology 131: 275-282. ... - page 5
"O. bartrami have been observed to fly a distance of 10 - 20 m at 1 - 2 m height off the sea surface. It is believed that the gliding-like flying behaviour is analogous to flying fish with the aim of escaping from predators (Murata 1988)."

I worked on these critters when I was at NOAA-National Marine Fisheries Service in the 80's.

In fact, there are squid jigs used in Japan that are specially made for flying squid species.

Bob HulseFebruary 12, 2010 7:11 PM

dear vader, my wife and I observed a group of flying squid about 200 miles south of Rio last November. I have 9 not very good pictures of a group of 15 individuals some jetting water and others merely gliding back into the ocean. They are not a hoax.

why in the world are ya'll worried about this anyway?

Clive RobinsonFebruary 13, 2010 7:38 AM

@ Bob Hulse,

"why in the world are ya'll worried about this anyway?"

Have you ever seen a whale or dolphin jump out of the water?

Have you seen what sort of a mess a whale hitting a boat can do?

Some squid could give a dolphin a run for it's money on size, and unlike the dolphin squid can be real real nasty when out of water.

There is something (prime-evil ;) about giant squid that seamen down the years have put into their stories. And squid have taken on the same significance to ancient chart makers as "dragons" have to ancient map makers (ie "hear be dragons" when an area is unknown and explorers have not come back).

And maruding Squid have always been good for a B-Movie or three along with the standard fare with the likes of "The Giant Killer Tomatoes" (hey you just need a "Giant Garlic" and you've the making of a lot of sauce for "seafood pasta" ;)

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