"Colourful" squid found in southern Indian Ocean

Last Updated: Monday, November 22, 2010 - 00:29

New Delhi: Researchers have discovered a
bright-coloured squid, a marine creature with eight arms and
light-producing organs which are sometimes used by it to lure
preys.

The squid, belonging to the Chiroteuthid family, was
identified by scientist Vladimir Laptikhovsky from the
Falkland Island Fisheries department after analysing over
7,000 species of marine animals collected last year from the
southern Indian Ocean.

Squid, like cuttlefish, have eight arms arranged in
pairs and two, usually longer, tentacles. They are strong
swimmers and certain species can `fly` for short distances out
of the water.

The discovery is part of an International Union for
Conservation of Nature`s `Seamounts Project` where a team of
leading marine experts ventured into a six-week research
expedition above seamounts in the high seas of Indian Ocean.

Over 70 species of squid were identified during the
ten-day 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,"
Alex Rogers from the Department of Zoology of UK`s Oxford
University said in a statement here.

"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," he
said.

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.

Seamounts are underwater mountains rising from the
ocean floor. They are often hotspots of biological diversity
and production that often attract concentrations of
commercially-important fish, such as tuna, and concentrations
of animals such as cetaceans, seabirds, sharks and seals.

"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.

"It would also help in future management of deep-sea
ecosystems in the high seas globally," said Carl Gustaf
Lundin, Head of IUCN Global Marine Programme.

PTI



First Published: Monday, November 22, 2010 - 00:29

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