Incredibly rare and mysterious sea creatures filmed over 10,000 feet into the abyss.

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A mysterious and rare marine creature was filmed for the first time in Australian waters, with researchers taking pictures of the Bigfin squid (Magnapinna) at a depth of over 10,000 feet during a journey into the abyss.

Worldwide, there have only been about a dozen confirmed sightings of this creature, so the latest images of it are of enormous importance to science. In total, the team, led by CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency, filmed five individual octopuses during a dive in the Great Australian Bay – an open water bay off the country’s south coast.

The bodies of the filmed bigfin squid measured about six feet, while their tentacles extended to 23 feet.

“Most of the previous reports concerned individual Bigfin squid, so it’s exciting to have filmed five in the Great Australian Bay,” marine scientist Deborah Osterhage said in a statement. “Differences in their appearance meant that we could confirm that they were five separate individuals and not the same squid, which occurred several times, and although the investigations covered a relatively large area, the squids were actually found clustered close together.

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Five individual bigfin squids were captured on film by Australian researchers.
CSIRO

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Five individual bigfin squids were captured on film by Australian researchers.
CSIRO

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Five individual bigfin squids were captured on film by Australian researchers.
CSIRO

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Five individual bigfin squids were captured on film by Australian researchers.
CSIRO

Osterhage and her colleagues published a report about the sightings in the magazine PLOS One. Their analysis revealed a number of previously unknown features of the species, including how it changes color. The creatures were filmed at depths between 3,100 and 10,700 feet.

“We were very excited to see the Bigfin Squid again and to receive this extraordinary footage. It allowed us to learn more about this elusive and fascinating deep-sea squid,” said Osterhage, “We… observed their color and behavior, including thread winding, a behavior not previously observed in squid.

Osterhage and Hugh MacIntosh, a research associate at Museum Victoria, wrote for The Conversation and said that the Bigfin Squid was first described in 1998, based on damaged specimens from Hawaii. Its most characteristic feature is a set of large fins, hence the name.

They said that previous sightings of creatures tend to see single individuals. The finding of five in a relatively concentrated area suggests that this part of the ocean could be their natural habitat, although more sightings would be needed to confirm this. “It remains to be seen whether the relatively high number of Magnapinna squid sighted in the [Great Australian Bight] of Australia corresponds to a [Bigfin squid] hotspot,” the team wrote in the study.

“The morphological, behavioural and ecological insights gained from these sightings of Magnapinna sp. reinforce the value of images as a tool in deep-sea squid research and contribute to our knowledge of this elusive and fascinating genus”.

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