Monday, 22 November 2010

New species of large squid found

Has light-producing organs to lure prey

November 2010: A new species of squid has been discovered in the southern Indian ocean.

The new species, 70cm long, is a large member of the chiroteuthid family - squids from this group are long and slender with light-producing organs, which act as lures to attract prey. So far, more than 70 species of squid have been identified from the IUCN-led Seamounts cruise, representing more than 20 per cent of the global squid biodiversity.

‘For ten days now 21 scientists armed with microscopes have been working through intimidating rows of jars containing fishes, squids, zooplankton and other interesting creatures,' says Alex Rogers, Principal Scientist and Marine Biologist at the Zoological Society of London. ‘Many specimens look similar to each other and we have to use elaborate morphological features such as muscle orientation and gut length to differentiate between them.'

The recent discoveries are part of an IUCN-led Seamounts Project, which started a year ago when a team of the world's leading marine experts ventured into a six-week research expedition above seamounts in the high seas of the Indian Ocean. The aim of the cruise was to unveil the mysteries of seamounts in the southern Indian Ocean and to help improve conservation and management of marine resources in the area.

‘The new discoveries will not only satiate the appetite of scientists working in the field, but will help improve conservation and management of Indian Ocean resources and future management of deep-sea ecosystems in the high seas globally,' says Carl Gustaf Lundin, head of the IUCN Global Marine Programme.

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