Squid not only swim, they fly! They don't just leap like dolphins, mind you. They actually accelerate through the air like rockets, by forcefully squirting water out of their bodies.
"It turns out that when these animals are flying, they move about five times as fast as they ever do when they're swimming," cephalopod expert Ronald O'Dor of Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada, told Discovery News.
That superior aerodynamic efficiency suggests that these cephalopods may have developed flight not only for evading predators (as flying fish do) but also for saving energy during migration, O'Dor says. He and Julia Stewart of Stanford University presented their findings at the 2012 Ocean Sciences meeting in Salt Lake City, Utah, this week.
Tourists on a cruise ship off the coast of Brazil captured the first photographic evidence of the flying squid phenomenon back in 2010. But this study marks the first time anyone has analyzed the photos and compared the results to what biologists already know about swimming squid, which is D'Odor's expertise.