Wild Fact #42 – Frequent Flyer Miles – Japanese Flying Squid

Japanese Flying Squid

Photo by Hokkaido University

 

Cool Facts About the Japanese Flying Squid

  • You want to know the coolest thing about the Japanese Flying Squid? THEY FLY!!!
  • Although this squid tends to group around Vietnam, they can be found in the Pacific Ocean from Japan to Russia and even further east towards Alaska and Canada (I really want to to go the coast to catch a glimpse of these flying animals)
  • While the Japanese Flying Squid has two large fins – this is not their main mechanism for travel. Instead, they rely on jet propulsion by taking in water through one siphon and expelling it through another.

Fly Like a Squid…Into the Sea

Obviously we need to talk about the elephant in the room – or in this case the Flying Squid in the air. For quite some time, there had been rumours of a squid that could fly, however, it wasn’t until early 2013 that this rumour was proven to be true. Let’s just be clear, we are not talking about an animal that merely jumps out of the water but instead one that purposefully uses their body to fly through the air.

Let me explain this a little further.

When the Japanese Flying Squid decides it is time to take flight, and often this is used as a defence mechanism, they will suck in as much water as possible into their mantle (essentially, this is their body). At this point they will forcefully expel the water, which creates that jet propulsion thing I mentioned earlier. The power is so great that the squid is able to breach the surface of the water and fly through the air. Now you may be thinking that this sounds a lot like jumping and sure you may be onto something except I haven’t told you the best part yet. Japanese Flying Squid

Spread Your Wings!

Once in the air, the Flying Squid will spread out their tentacles and fins to essentially create a pair of wings. They will then manoeuvre their body appropriately in an effort to remain airborne as long as possible. And for all intensive purposes, they have perfected this art. Incredibly, the Japanese Flying Squid is able to fly over 30 meters (98 feet) in about 3 seconds – for those keeping track at home, this is crazy fast. Sure this is pretty cool, but it is also a very effective defence strategy. Just imagine the look on a hungry predators face when his dinner leaps out of the water and ends up being 100 feet in front of him before he even knows what’s going on.

 

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