Giant Squid in Tampa Bay: A First Ever

A deep-sea exploration team made a major discovery. Their equipment, submerged 250 meters under the waters of the Gulf of Mexico (some 100 miles from New Orleans), captured an unlikely image.

A giant squid was sighted swimming in the murky deep, an event that nobody could have expected. This was because there had never been instances of a giant squid in these waters or anywhere near the U.S.

How It Happened

The squid was photographed via a submersible deep-water camera called Medusa as it completed its fifth plunge between 3,000 and 6,000 feet. It was part of the equipment belonging to the NOAA research vessel, with Dr. Heather Judkins helm.

As it made its descend, it caught a glimpse of a blurry shape, followed by long tentacles. After some double-checking, the research team confirmed that it was indeed a giant squid, which had been attracted by Medusa’s lights.

At the time of discovery, Dr. Heather Judkins was fast asleep in her quarters. At one moment, her colleagues woke her up to notify her of what Medusa had captured. Completely unaware of what was truly taking place, she thought they may have woken her up on account of a pod of dolphins.

Little did she know that she and her team had made a groundbreaking discovery in the field of marine biology.

The Giant Squid

The cephalopod in question was around ten to twelve feet in length. It is peculiar that thousands of earlier dives had failed to spot any giant squid. Scientists speculate that the lights that regular deep-water cameras deploy might have been scaring them away.

However, Medusa’s monitoring sensors are far less intrusive and have not deterred the creature from approaching.

Giant squids (known as Architeuthis) can theoretically grow as large as 43 ft. They occupy most of the world’s oceans, but it wasn’t until 2004 that someone photographed it for the first time.

This is largely due to the depth of the ocean they call home, anywhere between one and two thousand feet. This explains why sightings of these cephalopods have been so scarce and why one had only now been seen near U.S. shores.

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