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Flying squid

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Flying squid
Japaneseflyingsquid1.jpg
Scientific Classification
species

Subfamily: Illicinae

Subfamily: Ommastrephinae

Subfamily: Todarodinae

Humbolt squid.jpg
Humbolt Squid

The flying squid are a group of large squid best known for their use jet propulsion - using a siphon to bring water in one side and push it out of the other. The beak of the squid is one of the hardest organic materials known to man. The discovery of how the squid uses it could be used to improve prosthetic limbs and adhesives for dissimilar materials.

Species of flying squid can be found in most parts of the world. The two most common species are the Humboldt Squid and the Japanese Squid. The Humboldt can be found in places like Tierra del Fuego, South America all the way to California. So many people have been injured while video taping these animals that one diver, Scott Cassell, developed a body suit that would protect himself from the bodily weapons of the squid. The Humboldt are so aggressive that a group of squid can easily consume extremely large prey in no time at all.[1]

Anatomy

Dead humboldt squid washed up on the shore

Some species of flying squid (the Humboldt squid) can grow up to about seven feet and can weigh as much as 100 pounds. [2] They have around eight arms and have a "torpedo" shaped mantle. The tentacles are equipped with suction cups along the back, used for catching pray and for defense. The mantle makes up around two thirds of the length of the body, including the tentacles. They can grow up to a length of one meter. [3] On the mantle there are two fins. In the flying squid, these are not the main method of mobility. The flying squid will use a siphon to bring water in one side and push it out of the other; this is known as jet propulsion. The squid's mouth can be found in between the arms. Unlike humans, squid have three hearts instead of one. In the Humboldt squid, 40 percent of the squids body weight is it's mantle, twelve is the fins, fourteen percent are the tentacles, the outer skin is about three percent, the head is about five percent, and about twenty-six is it's internal organs.[4]

It is equipped with a razor sharp tooth or "beak" called the radula.[5] The beak of the Humboldt squid is one of the hardest organic materials known. The squid uses it to disable, dismember, and eat their prey. Scientists are working to find out how a soft and squishy squid can use such a hard and sharp object without injuring themselves, especially when its attached to their bodies. The discovery of this process could be used to improve prosthetic limbs and adhesives for dissimilar materials.[6]

Ecology

Species of flying squid can be found in most parts of the world. The Humboldt squid can be found in places like Tierra del Fuego, South America all the way to California. This is where they get their name. They are known to be a social species and travel in "schools" of around 1,200. The Humboldt squid does not have many natural predators. Aside from humans hunting them for their muscle meat, they are threatened by the sperm whale. The whales are often found with skin cut by the squids teeth ringed suckers. [7] The Japanese flying squid are the most commonly found in japan. [8] The Japanese squid can live in waters ranging from five degrees Celsius to twenty-seven degrees Celsius and live in the upper layers of the ocean. Their life spans range to about one year. Around twenty-five species live around Vietnam alone. [9] The Japanese flying squid makes up about half of the cephalopods caught in fishery nets, there are about 600,000 caught each year. [10]

Humboldt Squid

The Humboldt Squid, or the Jumbo Squid, is one of the more common species of flying squid. Most of them only live to around one year. They are known to be aggressive animals. Many underwater video cameras and their owners have been attacked by groups of these animals. They have sharp teeth lining each sucker of their tentacles. They can tear skin and muscle using their extremely sharp beak. So many people have been injured while video taping these animals that one diver, Scott Cassell, developed a body suit that would protect himself from the bodily weapons of the squid. The Humboldt are so aggressive that a group of squid can easily consume extremely large pray in no time at all. Humboldt are normally found of the coast of Mexico near Monterrey Bay. These squid have been tracked in a steady migration to the north.

References