Thursday, February 28, 2013

A species of oceanic squid can fly

From: Sam H.
Sent: February 28, 2013
To: undisclosed recipients
Subject: Fw: A species of oceanic squid can fly

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's a squid. A species of oceanic squid can fly more than 30 metres (100 feet) through the air at speeds faster than Usain Bolt if it wants to escape predators, Japanese researchers said Friday.

The Neon Flying Squid propels itself out of the ocean by shooting a jet of water at high pressure, before opening its fins to glide at up to 11.2 metres per second, Jun Yamamoto of Hokkaido University said. Olympic Gold medallist Bolt averaged 10.31 metres a second when he won at the London Games last year. "There were always witnesses and rumors that said squid were seen flying, but no one had clarified how they actually do it. We have proved that it really is true," Yamamoto told AFP.

Researchers say is the first time anyone has ever described the mechanism the flying mollusc employs. "Once they finish shooting out the water, they glide by spreading out their fins and arms," Yamamoto's team said in a report. "The fins and the web between the arms create aerodynamic lift and keep the squid stable on its flight arc. "As they land back in the water, the fins are all folded back into place to minimise the impact."

A picture researchers snapped shows more than 20 of the creatures in full flight above the water, droplets of water from their propulsion jet clearly visible.

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