Earlier this month, a team of divers swimming off the coast of Turkey discovered something unexpected: a 4-meter wide gelatinous mass of what turned out to be one of the biggest mass of squid eggs ever discovered.
The divers weren’t sure what they had discovered, but once the video was posted online, they got a clue from Dr. Michael Vecchione of the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, who believed that the mass was squid eggs.
Dr. Vecchione best guess? A large red flying squid named Ommastrephes bartramii. These animal can grow to around 1.5 meters (~5 feet) in length. As their name suggests, red flying squid can fly, or rather glide, by jetting out of the water and flatting their tentacles and fins to make “wings”. They’ve also got arms packed with suckers complete with razor-sharp teeth.
Discovered near Fethiye, a Mediterranean town on the coast of Turkey, scientists have theorized that comparable masses have contained anywhere from 600,000 to 2,000,000 squid eggs, and took just a couple of days to hatch, which would make the mass a short-lived target for predators.