The Case of the Mystery Squid

What do you do with a squid that doesn’t belong? In 1995, a collection of eastern Pacific squids was donated to the Smithsonian — but one specimen didn’t fit into any known family of squids. It had wide fins that looked almost like elephant ears, and skinny arms that had been severed a few inches below the squid’s mantle. Together with a slightly larger juvenile specimen in the collections and a paralarva (baby) from Hawaii, this odd-looking specimen led to the identification of a whole new family of squids: the Magnapinnidae, or bigfin squids.

But that wasn’t the end of the story.

A few years later, researchers in deep-sea submersibles began spotting large and very strange squids. They had long spaghetti-like arms — reaching 20 feet (7 meters) — that bent like elbows. They were so unusual they were nicknamed “mystery squid” by Smithsonian and NOAA researcher Dr. Michael Vecchione.

By comparing videos of these “mystery squid” with the juvenile bigfins in the Smithsonian’s collection, scientists identified the strange squids as adult bigfins. With the help of long-dead specimens, a modern-day mystery was solved.

via: The Ocean Portal

This post is posted on Wednesday 17 April 2013.
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Tagged as: this thing scares me so much omg ocean sea animals deepsea deep sea nature underwater science
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