During the filming of David Attenborough’s famous BBC series Blue Planet 2, viewers got a unique insight into just how little our oceans have been explored. Using a Triton submarine, the team of researchers were able to dive 1000m below the surface, into an area known as the “midnight zone”. Here, cameras uncovered the carcass of a 30-tonne whale, which had sunk from the surface and became a meal for the creatures of the deep.
However, there was a visitor during the four months they filmed, that left the team perplexed.
David Attenborough said in 2017: “There is nothing left but a few bones.
“But even they are food for something.
“Zombie worms – they tunnel into the bones by injecting acid and so can reach the tiny amounts of fat that still remain there.
“It may take decades, but eventually the last of the bones will crumble and the whole 30-tonne carcass will have been recycled.
Zombie worms – they tunnel into the bones by injecting acid and so can reach tiny amounts of fat
“A whale fall is a temporary oasis in the desert of the sea floor.”
Also known as the Osedax, or boneworms, these creatures got their name because of their ability to feast on the bones of a carcass.
Lacking stomachs and mouths, the Osedax relies on symbiotic species of bacteria that aid in the digestion of whale proteins and lipids and release nutrients that the worms can absorb.
They have colourful feathery plumes that act as gills and unusual root-like structures that absorb nutrients.
However, they are not the first remarkable discovery to come out of the ocean and be captured by Sir David’s team.
Just 200m above this bizarre find, in an area known as the “twilight zone”, a cannibal was captured on film.
Sir David said: “Humboldt squids – two metres long and 50 kilos in weight.
“Like most squid, they are voracious hunters.
“There are hundreds of them and they have found a shoal of lanternfish hiding 800 metres down off the coast of South America.
“Their tentacles are armed with powerful suckers with which they grab their prey.”
The 92-year-old presenter then went on to reveal how this huge squid will turn cannibal to survive.
Sir David added: “When there are no more lanternfish to be found, they turn on each other.
“This squid has caught a smaller one in its tentacles.
“To hide its capture from the rest, it releases a smokescreen of black ink.
“But then, an even bigger one challenges it and steals its catch.
“The twilight zone is the Humboldt squid’s favourite hunting ground, they seldom go deeper.”
Source: Read Full Article