VIDEO: Enormous Sunfish Dwarfs Nearby Divers

KS_LOGOs2_UnderwaterRare footage of a gigantic sunfish shot in September of 2013 has gone viral – again. I can see why! This crazy video shows a huge sunfish slowly emerging from the deep, surrounded by divers that look tiny in comparison. 🐟

Sunfish, or Mola, are the heaviest of all the bony fish, with large specimens reaching 14 feet (4.2 meters) vertically and 10 feet (3.1 meters) horizontally and weighing nearly 5,000 pounds (2,268 kilograms). But don’t worry, they are harmless to humans despite their impressive size. They’d rather snack on jellyfish.

This amazing video was captured on film by photographer Miguel Pereira off the coast of Portugal. He was left in awe by his experience. “When diving with a GoPro I saw the giant sunfish almost at surface level and practically static. The sunfish seemed not to be bothered by our presence at all and followed us for 15 minutes,” Pereira explained.

sunfishpic

The original Facebook post already has more than 4.5 million views. I have to admit, it is pretty hard to look away from. Share this crazy video with your friends!


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VIDEO: Enormous Sunfish Dwarfs Nearby Divers

MIT’s Otter-Inspired Wetsuits May Change the Surfing Game

KS_LOGOs2_UnderwaterBeavers and sea otters are known for having this amazing fur that traps air when they dive underwater, helping to keep their little blubber-less bodies warm. This is what inspired MIT engineers to create a fur-like rubbery pelt. They wanted to figure out how these mammals star warm and even dry while diving in and out of icy waters.

mitwetsuit

The Plan: Make precise, fur-like surfaces of various dimensions, dunk the surfaces in liquid at different speeds, and use video imaging to measure the air that is trapped in the fur during each each dive.

“We are particularly interested in wetsuits for surfing, where the athlete moves frequently between air and water environments,” says Anette (Peko) Hosoi, a professor of mechanical engineering and associate head of the department at MIT. “We can control the length, spacing, and arrangement of hairs, which allows us to design textures to match certain dive speeds and maximize the wetsuit’s dry region.” 

The team at MIT made several molds by laser-cutting thousands of tiny holes in small acrylic blocks. Each mold was altered, varying in size and the spacing of individual hairs. The molds were then filled with a soft casting rubber.

Researchers mounted each hairy piece of rubber and submerged them in silicone oil. They chose oil so they could better observe any air pockets forming.

Results: The team learned that the spacing of individual hairs, and the speed at which they were plunged, played a large role in determining how much air a surface could trap. Surfaces with denser fur, plunged at higher speeds, generally retained more air within the hairs.

So, what does this mean? If you’ve ever worn a wetsuit you know they can be heavy and hard to move around in. Let’s pretend a wetsuit is made out of this fabricated hairy material, using air for insulation instead of soggy rubber. The bio-inspired wetsuit would be lightweight and behave better in water.

Can you imagine? Light, warm, furry wetsuits? I’m in! 🏄

The results were published in the journal Physical Review Fluids. You can view the study here -along with some pretty epic charts, diagrams, and photos. 


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MIT’s Otter-Inspired Wetsuits May Change the Surfing Game

Palm-Sized Soft Octopus Robot Farts Its Way into Your Heart

KS TechnologyPeople creating robots that resemble nature is nothing new, but engineers at Harvard University have made something spectacular – a completely soft bodied Octobot with zero batteries or wires that uses gas (and farts) to move. 🐙

robopus

Scientists made this adorable tiny bot by pouring silicone gels of varying stiffness into an octopus mold. A 3D printer finishes the legs. At its heart is a tiny circuit board like controller which ultimately controls its movements.

Wanna hear the fun part? The Octobot moves completely on its own, powered by gas. The controller at the bot’s center shunts liquid hydrogen peroxide through platinum reaction chambers in the legs, turning the fluid fuel into gas. The gas flows through the ‘tentacles’ and inflates the compartments inside the eight limbs.

The blueprint for this soft, autonomous robot was published in the journal Nature.

Figure 1: Fully soft, autonomous robot assembly - Nature
Figure 1: Fully soft, autonomous robot assembly – Nature

All that gas has to go somewhere! The team gave the robot small orifices so the gas has a place to escape. This makes sure the Octobot doesn’t burst leaving an ugly mess.

Now, I don’t want you thinking this little soft robot is running around the lab farting its way into the history books. According to the BBC, the circuit sets up an alternating movement, inflating four limbs at a time. So it is more of a twitching movement than a walking demonstration. But still very cool!

This exciting technology could pave the way toward more effective soft robots that could be used in search and rescue, exploration and to more safely interact with the fleshy world of humans.


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Palm-Sized Soft Octopus Robot Farts Its Way into Your Heart

Googly-Eyed Stubby Purple Squid Can’t Be Real Life

KS Strange ScienceIf you haven’t smiled yet today, you need to watch this video of researchers aboard Nautilus coming across an adorable googly-eyed cephalopod.
stubbypurple
I’m not sure what is better – the actual squid or the crew. Such excitement! It goes a little something like this:

“What IS that?!”

“He has weird eyes.”

“No, no, no. Don’t change the angle, please!”

“It looks like some little kid dropped their toy.”

“Maybe he has eye problems
”

“He looks fake, like Davy Jones.”

“He looks like he has googly-eyes! They look painted on.”

“He is awesome.”

“His eyes are freaking me out
”

“He is cool, Mr. Cuttlefish!”

“Is he a cuttlefish? Octopus? No, cuttlefish. He is a ‘cuddle’ fish.”

From the Nautilus website: ‘The stubby squid (Rossia pacifica) looks like a cross between an octopus and squid, but is more closely related to cuttlefish. The team spotted this Stubby Squid off the coast of California at a depth of 2,950 feet.

This species spends life on the seafloor, activating a sticky mucus jacket and burrowing into the sediment to camouflage, leaving their eyes poking out to spot prey like shrimp and small fish.

Rossia pacifica is found in the Northern Pacific from Japan to Southern California up to 300m, but in addition to the team’s sighting, researchers at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) have spotted them at depths of 1,300 m (4,260 ft).’

Nautilus is currently cruising up the California coastline investigating old ship wrecks. How cool is that? Follow them on Twitter for more updates during their mission!


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Video

First-Ever Shark Sonogram Reveals 20 Jaws Full of Sharp Teeth

KS_LOGOs2_UnderwaterCan you imagine? Congratulations – you’re having SHARKS! You’re looking at the first ever shark ultrasound. Scientists were shocked to discover the shark, who they named “Emily,” was really pregnant.

shark sonogram

The 12.5 foot tiger shark was found with 20 well-formed thrashing pups – which incidentally comes with 20 tiny jaws of razor sharp teeth! Scientists estimate the shark pups to be about 40 to 45 centimeters (15 to 18 inches) long. That delivery sounds delightful.

James Sulikowski, of the University of New England, along with collaborators from the University of Miami conducted the sonogram in the Bahamas. Their ultrasound is groundbreaking because, not only is it uncharted territory, it could also change how researchers study pregnant sharks. Shark wombs used to be cut open in order to be studied, which ultimately killed the mother.

This creepily adorable video is part of Discovery’s Shark Week. Check it out below:


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First-Ever Shark Sonogram Reveals 20 Jaws Full of Sharp Teeth

#CephalopodWeek Top Reads, Videos and Incredible Images

KS_LOGOs2_UnderwaterIt’s time to bid farewell to my favorite time of the year – #CephalopodWeek. For 7 days, scientists and cephalopod enthusiasts honor our smart, inky, tentacle waving friends.

I’ve selected a few awesome must-read articles and must-see videos from Cephalopod Week 2016 for you to enjoy! 🐙


Eight (or More) Reasons to be Amazed by the Octopus – Science Friday

Science Friday 1

Video: Colorful Cephalopods – CALIFORNIA ACADEMY OF SCIENCES

Cal Academy

Cephalopod Week Returns – American Museum of Natural History

AMNH

Photos: Cephalopod Awareness – Biodiversity Heritage Library

Flickr

Video: Video: Run, Octopus, Run! – Science Friday

Science Friday 2 Run

We’re Not Squidding Around – Cephalopod Week Is Sure to Suck You In – KQED

KQED

This #CephalopodWeek infographic shows everything you should know about squids – The Daily Dot

Daily Dot

Vampire squid take mommy breaks – Science News

Science News

Video: I, Octopus – Science Friday

Science Friday 3 I, Octopus

Video: Pelagic parenting: A deep-sea squid broods its eggs – Monterey Bay Aquarium

Monterey Bay Aquarium


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#CephalopodWeek Top Reads, Videos and Incredible Images

New Casper Look-a-like Octopod Spooks NOAA Scientists from the Deep

KS_LOGOs2_UnderwaterThe first operational dive of Okeanos Explorer’s 2016 season got off to a frightful start. At the end of February, NOAA’s remotely operated vehicle (ROV) Deep Discoverer dove 2 1/2 miles underwater to collect geological samples near Hawaii. While surveying the area, scientists were shocked to see a wispy white ghost-like octopod dance into view.

The appearance of this animal was unlike any published records and was the deepest observation ever for this type of cephalopod.

According to NOAA, deep-sea octopods are easily separated into two distinct groups:

  • (1) the cirrate, or finned, octopods (also known as “dumbo” octopods), characterized by fins on the sides of their bodies and fingerlike cirri associated with the suckers on their arms
  • (2) incirrate octopods, which lack both fins and cirri and are similar in appearance to common shallow-water Octopus
This ghostlike octopod is almost certainly an undescribed species and may not belong to any described genus. Image courtesy of NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research, Hohonu Moana 2016.
This ghostlike octopod is almost certainly an undescribed species and may not belong to any described genus. Image courtesy of NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research, Hohonu Moana 2016.

The octopod spotted by the ROV was a member of the second group, the incirrates. What makes this species unusual is that it lacks pigment cells called chromatophores, giving it its spooky appearance, and it isn’t very ‘muscular.’ Casper the wimpy ghost! đŸ‘»

The haunting image below captures the moment the unique cephalopod appeared from the deep. Scientist believe it is almost certainly an undescribed species and may not belong to any described genus.

Image courtesy of the NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research, Hohonu Moana 2016.
Image courtesy of the NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research, Hohonu Moana 2016.

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New Casper Look-a-like Octopod Spooks NOAA Scientists from the Deep

New Species: Glowing ‘Ninja Lanternshark’ Lights up the Deep Sea

KS_LOGOs2_UnderwaterI was taught to not bury the lead, so here goes. This is a ninja lanternshark. That’s right – NINJA + SHARK. This new species of lanternshark is black, stealthy, lives in the deep sea, and oh yeah… it glows.

Adult female Etmopterus benchleyi. Credit: Ocean Science Foundation
Adult female Etmopterus benchleyi. Credit: Ocean Science Foundation

Researchers named the new species Etmopterus benchleyi, after Jaws author Peter Benchley. They are roughly 18 inches long and have patches of photophores on their snout, sides, and belly. These tiny light-omitting organs are what gives them the ability to glow.

But, ninja lanternsharks have less photophores than their cousins, so they don’t glow as bright. They are also distinguished by their dark black color – hence the name.

These masters of the deep were originally discovered in 2010, by the Spanish research vessel Miguel Oliver. They collected eight specimens off the Pacific coast of Central America at depths ranging between 2,700 and 4,700 feet.

With the help of the Pacific Shark Resource Center and the California Academy of Sciences, they determined that the ninja shark was indeed a new species. They published their findings in a journal this week.

New Species: Glowing ‘Ninja Lanternshark’ Lights up the Deep Sea

This Insane ‘Blue Dragon’ Pokemon-Wannabe Sea Slug Packs a Powerful Sting

KS Strange ScienceAustralia is home to some pretty gnarly creatures, but I’ve never seen one quite this unsettling. Don’t get me wrong, this alien-like sea slug is oddly beautiful – it just gives me chills. Glaucus atlanticus, more commonly known as the “blue dragon,” made headlines this week after washing ashore in Australia.

Blue Dragon
IMAGE: SYLKE ROHRLACH/FLICKR

Blue dragon sightings are rare, but they have been known to wash ashore while hunting for prey. The blue dragon is so badass it feeds on the Portuguese man o’ war. MAN O’ WAR! Man o’ war are incredibly poisonous. And, despite popular belief, they are not jellyfish! They are siphonophores; animals made up of a colony of organisms working together.

Their tentacles are one of four organisms, covered in venom-filled nematocysts that they use to paralyze and kill fish. For humans? The man-of-war sting is unbelievably painful, but not often deadly. Blue dragons actually snack on the man o’ war’s toxic stingers. They store the poisons within their own bodies and gain the ability to sting like crazy. Ouch!

The blue dragon is tiny, spending most of its time upside down in the water, riding the surface tension of the water’s surface. But, don’t let its small size fool you – it clearly packs a potent poisonous punch.

The video below was uploaded to Facebook on November 12 by Lucinda Fry, and it already has over 200,000 views! Warning: it’s super creepy. You won’t be able to look away.

This Insane ‘Blue Dragon’ Pokemon-Wannabe Sea Slug Packs a Powerful Sting

PHOTO: World’s First BABY Giant Squid Caught in Japan

KS_LOGOs2_UnderwaterResearchers have captured three different giant squid babies off the coasts of western and south-western Japan. This is the first time this has EVER happened in the whole world! 🐙 I’m absolutely terrified of giant squid (thanks to this exhibit at the AMNH), but I’m also obsessed with these fascinating creatures of the deep.

MORIHIKO YAMADA/MUSEUM OF NATURE AND HUMAN ACTIVITIES
A baby giant squid caught off the coast of Kagoshima prefecture in southwestern Japan. MORIHIKO YAMADA/MUSEUM OF NATURE AND HUMAN ACTIVITIES

According to National Geographic, giant squid are thought to reach sizes up to 60 feet (18 meters), but because they live at such great ocean depths adults have never been studied in the wild – let alone babies.

The Museum of Nature and Human Activities in Hyogo prefecture said researchers caught three individuals of small, young giant squid (Architeuthis due) in or near Japanese coastal waters from April–June 2013. The discovery was published last week in the journal Marine Biodiversity Records.

The first baby giant squid was recorded on the coast off Kyushu Island, southern Japan. The remaining two were caught dead in fishing nets off the coast of Shimane, south-western Japan. Giant squid are the world’s largest invertebrates but each baby weighed in at under a pound and ranged from 5-13 inches in length.

I guess they aren’t so scary when they are just one foot long! Needless to say the scientific community is excited by this discovery. Researcher Toshifumi Wada told The Wall Street Journal, “This is the first time in the world that such young giant squid were found, and it has helped us understand what they are like this early in their life stage.”

PHOTO: World’s First BABY Giant Squid Caught in Japan