"Colourful" squid found in southern Indian Ocean



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