Flying squid that is.
Researchers at Hokkaido University in Japan have proven that a species of squid can actually fly for short distances.
Scientists theorize that the squid use this "flying" skill as a way to escape predators. While swimming, the squid will open its mantle to draw in water and then launch themselves into the air using a high pressure stream of water similar to jet propulsion.
For a snapshot of these acrobatic calamari in action, check this video from Mighty JPN out:
Once airborne the squid spread both their fins and tentacles to form a wing like structure which creates lift and allows them to maneuver and glide, much like a paper airplane. At just the right moment before reentry they fold their fins and tentacles back in to minimize impact with the water.
Researchers have recorded the creatures remaining airborne for approximately three seconds and covering a distance of about 98 feet. They are able to go that distance at a rate of about 11.2 meters (36.74 feet) per second.
To put that in perspective, Usain Bolt, the Jamaican gold medal winner in the 2012 summer Olympic Games, (you know, the humble guy with no ego problems whatsoever), ran at a speed of 10.31 meters (33.82 feet) per second. Pretty fast for a cephalopod, eh?
Groups of 20 airborne squid at a time have been seen. While able to escape predatory fish in this manner, it is speculated that while flying the squid are in danger of being taken by birds that may be wise to their tactics.
My next question would be can you catch them with a net? Is it considered fishing, and do they taste good in paella?
What other wildlife discovery have you seen recently?
Featured image via YouTube/Mighty JPN