Wildlife

Watch: Giant squid washes up in northern Israel

A flying neon squid measuring 110 cm washed up on the beach of Ma'agan Michael in northern Israel last night. This is the second recorded event of this nature. 

Giant squid washed up on the shore of the Mediterranean (Photo: Ilya Baskin, Nature and Parks Authority)

Unusual event

A 110 cm flying neon squid was recorded washing up on Ma'agan Michael beach last night (Saturday), and was recorded by the inspector of the marine unit at the Nature and Parks Authority, Ilya Baskin. This is the second recorded case of this species washing up on the shores of the Mediterranean.

Uri Schattner, a marine ecologist at the Nature and Parks Authority, said that, "Like many other squids, this squid also has eight arms designed for movement and two for hunting. It is a species of squid with a relatively large body size of about 45 cm. Larger species of 90 cm in length can sometimes be found."

"The squid gets its unique name thanks to its ability to swim short distances out of the water, similar to flying fish. This behavior happens with high frequency during stormy weather or in the presence of predators in the area, but the mechanism responsible for it is still not completely understood by the world of science," said Schattner. "The flying neon squid has a life span of about a year, during which they complete a cyclical migration between their feeding and spawning areas. They eat mainly small ocean fish, other squid, and sometimes practice cannibalism, feeding on other neon squid. They serve as prey for large fish, sharks, and marine mammals. The species is widespread in many countries around the world."

"In the Mediterranean Sea and in Israel in particular, sightings of this species are more rare and occur mainly in the autumn months. The reasons for this are that the species' habitat is deep, and on our coasts the bottom depth suitable for their habitat is a few kilometers off the coast," he stated. "Furthermore, This species prefers the temperature of cold sea water and our warm shores are at the edge of its range."

See the giant squid washing up on the shores of Ma'agan Michael:

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