Octo-Squid!


From the Honolulu Star Bulletin…

What appears to be a half-squid, half-octopus specimen found off Keahole Point on the Big Island remains unidentified today and could possibly be a new species, said local biologists. The specimen was found caught in a filter in one of Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority’s deep-sea water pipelines last week. The pipeline, which runs 3,000 feet deep, sucks up cold, deep-sea water for the tenants of the natural energy lab.

Actually, Richard Young, one of the world’s leading cephalopod experts, at the University of Hawaii at Manoa states the specimen tentatively belongs to the genus Mastigoteuthis, but the species is undetermined.

Although “octosquid” brings in the readers, it appears to be just a squid. TOL’s webpage on the Mastigoteuthids, coauthored by Young, notes that

Mastigoteuthids are deep water pelagic or benthopelagic squids that are morphologically distinctive. They are weakly muscled and reddish in color and have elongate fourth arms. Much of the red pigment is not in chromatophore organs but dispersed in other integumental cells, although chromatophores are present. The Mastigoteuthidae, however, is among the most taxonomically confused families of all deep-sea squid. The reason for the taxonomic confusion within the family is that many characters are based on the structure of the tentacles and photophores in the skin. Tentacles are often lost and the skin abraded during capture.

The most interesting part about the group is the tentacular clubs are covered with a thousands of extremely small suckers.

The tentacles appear, in freshly dead specimens, to function much like “fly paper”: anything that touches them sticks.

Dr. M (1801 Posts)

Craig McClain is the Executive Director of the Lousiana University Marine Consortium. He has conducted deep-sea research for 20 years and published over 50 papers in the area. He has participated in and led dozens of oceanographic expeditions taken him to the Antarctic and the most remote regions of the Pacific and Atlantic. Craig’s research focuses on how energy drives the biology of marine invertebrates from individuals to ecosystems, specifically, seeking to uncover how organisms are adapted to different levels of carbon availability, i.e. food, and how this determines the kinds and number of species in different parts of the oceans. Additionally, Craig is obsessed with the size of things. Sometimes this translated into actually scientific research. Craig’s research has been featured on National Public Radio, Discovery Channel, Fox News, National Geographic and ABC News. In addition to his scientific research, Craig also advocates the need for scientists to connect with the public and is the founder and chief editor of the acclaimed Deep-Sea News (http://deepseanews.com/), a popular ocean-themed blog that has won numerous awards. His writing has been featured in Cosmos, Science Illustrated, American Scientist, Wired, Mental Floss, and the Open Lab: The Best Science Writing on the Web.


One Reply to “Octo-Squid!”

  1. Oh nooooo. I had a pointless conversation with my mom and sister who heard about the frilled shark found this year as, not “eel-like” shark but Eel LIKE Shark! in some sort of deep sea booty shaking sort of way.

    Now i’ll get emails “didja know the squids and octopi are getting their cephalopod freak on together as well?”

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