While swimmers on the east coast of the U.S. continue to worry about sharks, Russian sailors pulling in their catch had something far bigger to deal with. A Russian fishing boat attracted a giant squid, a legendary deep sea creature rarely seen alive. If that doesn’t keep you from the beach, researchers have discovered that a full moon gives male sand fiddler crabs super strength in their massive claws along with a super libido. If Jules Verne were alive, he’d be giddy!
A video of the giant squid encounter shows Russian sailors attempting to extract a large fish from the squid’s larger tentacles. They manage to eventually drive it away with a pole, but not before the squid gives them a look at its awe-inspiring profile. While it’s hard to tell the size of this one, giant squids (Architeuthis) can reach an estimated 13 meters (43 feet) in length and are found in all of the oceans. A similar species, the colossal squid, can hit 14 meters (46 feet) and only lives in Antarctic waters. There’s no indication where this ship was trawling. The sight of a live giant squid must have freaked the crew out, but it’s to their credit that they let it return to its deep sea home.
Closer to the shore, the latest edition of the Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology reports on the monthly super powers of sand fiddler crabs (Uca pugilator). The females lay eggs during full and new moons to take advantage of tidal waters that sweep the eggs and larvae safely out to sea. Meanwhile, courting males duke it out with their single gigantic large claw for breeding privileges. Researchers discovered that these claws grow in size, mass and pinching strength during the full and new moon periods, regardless of how much the males eat, allowing them to fight off better-fed crabs with smaller claws. Here’s a question: does a blue moon act like a little blue pill for crabs?
Giant squids and crabs with super powers triggered by a full moon. Who needs myths when we have these real monsters among us?