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Squid vs. Fish: Epic Undersea Battle Captured on Video

Thanks to its sharp beak, a small red squid emerged victorious after an epic hourlong battle with a much bigger owlfish, all caught on video last November in Monterey Bay, Calif.

The black-eyed squid paralyzed the owlfish by cutting through the fish's backbone, according to Bruce Robinson, a senior scientist at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute. Robinson narrates a video of the fight between invertebrate and vertebrate, captured by MBARI's remotely operate vehicled Doc Ricketts on Nov. 11, 2013.

The Doc Ricketts discovered the struggling marine creatures at about 1,475 feet (450 meters) below Monterey Bay as the vehicle was rising toward the surface, said Susan von Thun, an MBARI senior research technician. Scientists watched the scene play out for 50 minutes before the ROV had to continue its journey, Von Thun told LiveScience. [See video of the squid-fish tussle.]

"They were sinking rapidly the whole time, and we think that's part of the squid's tactic," Von Thun said. By the time the ROV left, the squid and owlfish had dropped to a depth of 1,970 feet (600 meters), she said.

- Becky Oskin, LiveScience

This is a condensed version of a report from LiveScience. Read the full report. Email Becky Oskin or follow her @beckyoskin. Follow LiveScience on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.