For years, fishermen and sailors have reported seeing squid "flying" across the surface of the sea, and every now and again someone gets lucky and manages to nab a few photographs of cephalopods in action. It's only now, though, that marine biologists from Hokkaido University have discovered exactly how these squids squirt water out fast enough to propel themselves through the air at up to 11.2 metres per second -- faster than Usain Bolt's top speed of 10.31 metres per second.

Jun Yamamoto and his team had been sailing around the northwest Pacific Ocean, 600km off the coast of Japan, looking for schools of squid. They spotted about 100 20cm squid swimming just below the surface of the ocean, but as they approached around 20 of the squid launched themselves into the air, gliding around 30m in ten seconds. That the squid took flight as the researchers' boat approached has led Yamamoto to speculate that flying is a safety mechanism, to help them espace predators.