glowing squid

haggs

Vampyroteuthis
Supporter
#1
I recently went down to the beach to take some very early morning photos. While I was waiting for the camera's time exposure to finish, I turned and went for a short walk. I noticed some things glowing behind me on the gravel bed, so I walked the 4 mtrs or so to where it was. At first I thought it was half a octopus but close by was several more pieces. It urns out that it was squid, I'm assuming that it was left by a fisher person after they had finished fishing. Going on where it was located and the run of the tides, it had not been in the water to allow any water borne creatures to enter the squid body parts. Unless they had moved through the damp gravel. Does anyone have thoughts as to why a dead squid would have the ability to glow?
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DWhatley

Cthulhu
Staff member
Moderator
#2
Having absolutely no clue but fascinated by the pictures I searched for bioluminescent squid (but I would have expected you to have seen this in the past if it was common). When I could not find anything specific about AU bioluminescent squid I started looking at where the fluorescence shows and looked up possible foods that might glow after being eaten. I found a squid consumed shrimp like crustacean called an ostracod that can be bioluminescent so I am submitting that as my best guess.
 

CephBirk

O. bimaculoides
Registered
#3
Wow, this is fascinating... I am also befuddled. I have heard of deep sea cephalopods that have bioluminescence but this guy looks like an active, muscular shallow squid to me. I'm skeptical about it being food because there is so much glowing nowhere near the GI tract (i.e. the bright glowing fins).

haggs, was the luminescence constant or pulsing? Also, where did you find this geographically?
 

CephBirk

O. bimaculoides
Registered
#4
I did some searching and asking around but I'm still not quite sure. There are about 30 or 40 species of squids that have bioluminescence thanks to bacterial symbioses. But to my knowledge those bacteria are kept in light organs rather than spread throughout the body like in this individual. Of course, perhaps the glow is so dispersed because this animal is not exactly in the best shape and its bacteria were spread everywhere in the process of it being ripped in two...

haggs, how bright was the glow in person compared to the pictures? These pictures make it seem very bright, but I imagine that could be artificial due to a slow shutter speed on your camera.
 

Taollan

Vampyroteuthis
Supporter
#6
It kind of looks like a firefly squid (Watasenia scintillans) to me. Firefly squid have discrete photophores that produce light, but they are small and diffuse around the body. It could be that something like that has phorophores filled with bioluminescent bacteria all over the body, but as it died the phorophores broke open and spread the bioluminescence over the body. The problem with that idea is that firefly squid are from north of you: in Japan. Did you happen to keep it? There are some of us here that could probably ID the species from he remains.

Also, what was the approximate size of this squid?
 

haggs

Vampyroteuthis
Supporter
#7
" Also, where did you find this geographically?
I'm assuming you can use Google earth ... 30* 15'56.43" S 153*08'21.87" E I tried to use a .kmz file but it wouldn't accept it. Some 440km north of Sydney. It is a known beach for biggish fish and squid is quite often used as bait for these fish.

It was almost a moonless night/morning so it was quite dark and I first thought it was my eyes playing tricks on me, so I walked over. Yes it was a timed image, however that is about how bright it looked, laying on the gravel bed.

full squid image data copy.jpg
 

haggs

Vampyroteuthis
Supporter
#8
" Did you happen to keep it? Also, what was the approximate size of this squid?
The thought of keeping it did cross my mind, but we were not heading home for the day and I know how bad they can turn after a warm day :) It had a body length about 13cm
 

DWhatley

Cthulhu
Staff member
Moderator
#9
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GPO87

Sepia elegans
Staff member
Moderator
#10
I'd agree with the firefly squid. I can guarantee it's not a glass squid, and it's not a chiro either. I think the fins look about right for W. scintillans, and it's loos to be around the right size.
 

dude4682

Pygmy Octopus
Registered
#11
wow, that's awesome. a jellyfish-like creature called ctenophores glow while they are digesting their prey. this attracts more food to come to them. this is not a ctenophore ( aka comb jellyfish ), but I just thought I might have some similar technique of catching prey. or It might be some strange mix of chemicals? IDK
 

CephBirk

O. bimaculoides
Registered
#14
Japan to eastern Australia is a long way to travel for a firefly squid. Of course, many squid species have been known to migrate that far, but aren't firefly squid thought to be pretty endemic to Japan? Perhaps they were exported from Japan and sold as bait to be used by a local fisherman in Australia?
 

haggs

Vampyroteuthis
Supporter
#15
I have been fishing with several people who use this for bait but I have never seen them glow like this before... hence the question/post
 

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