One mom. Hundreds of eggs. A deep-sea ballet. Enchanting. The Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, or MBARI, filmed a squid mom looking after her eggs off the coast of California. It's a stunning example of how remote-operated vehicles can shine light on the rarities of the ocean.
The dainty, reddish squid is called Bathyteuthis sp. and it haunts deep sea locations, where it dines on krill. MBARI described the squid and its eggs as an "incredibly rare sight." The institute shared the ethereal footage on Wednesday, saying it came from a recent dive at 4,560 feet (1,390 meters) deep.
The mom is taking special care with her future squidlings. According to MBARI, most squids deposit their egg cases on the seafloor or release them to drift in the water. Researchers think the carrying behavior could help the babies' chances of survival. "MBARI researchers suspect other deep-dwelling squids may also be brooders," the organization said in a statement.
The ROV Doc Ricketts captured the footage. MBARI researchers witnessed a similar encounter back in 2005. "This is only the second time we've spotted a brooding squid since that first sighting over 17 years ago!" the institute said.
The ocean mom is further proof of just how adorable denizens of the deep can be. She's right up there with dumbo octopuses. It's also a touching look at how ocean creatures tend to their young. MBARI said brooding means the mom can't feed or make a quick escape from predators. But she'll be giving her kids a good shot at making it in the wide, wild world of the ocean.