The NOAA’s Okeanos Explorer is just days into its latest investigation of the deep-water areas of the Gulf of Mexico.But, the team has already stumbled upon some truly remarkable creatures thousands of feet beneath the surface.
The most striking of the bunch – at least, so far – may be one squid with a set of particularly devilish features.Researchers spotted the mysterious blood red cephalopod during a dive this morning, and they don’t quite know what to call it.
While some have suggested it could be a vampire squid, which are known for their somewhat menacing appearance, the researchers haven’t yet put a name to the crimson-colored creature.
For the time being, they’ve referred to it simply as an ‘unidentified squid.’‘We have seen several different squid species so far on this dive,’ the team noted on Twitter.
In addition to the stunning red squid, the NOAA team has come across sea stars, crabs, comb jellies, and a mesmerising skate in the depths of the Gulf of Mexico.The mission, which began on April 11, will continue through May 3 to investigate the habitats and mysterious shipwrecks thousands of feet down in the Gulf of Mexico Basin.
It is the last expedition in the region before the researchers head back to the East Coast, the NOAA says.The Gulf of Mexico is home to countless underwater marvels, from coral and sponge communities to undersea canyons and mud volcanoes.
And, there are scores of unknown shipwrecks lying on the seafloor.The team will be studying the region around the clock, with daytime dives using the remotely operated vehicle (ROV), and overnight mapping to reveal new insight on the ‘deep-water areas in important, yet largely unknown, U.S. waters.’The NOAA wrapped up the first of its three Gulf of Mexico expeditions at the end of last year.