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Scientists Discover Distinctive Deep-Sea Squid

squid
Image: ¿SCIENCE

The depths of the ocean remain largely unexplored, so it's hardly surprising that new creatures continue to reveal themselves to scientists and their submersibles. A report published today in the journal Science describes one such novel animal, a large deep-sea squid (right) sighted eight times in the last few years at sites around the globe.

The squid has ten thin tentacles that stretch six to eight feet, nearly 10 times their body length and far longer than arms in any other known squid. Researchers spotted the creatures in the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans at depths between two and five kilometers. The animals were often encountered within a few meters of the sea floor. Intriguingly, the international team of scientists reports that the sea creatures hardly batted an eye, or a tentacle, when approached by the underwater cameras, moving away only after five or 10 minutes of filming or when the vessel brushed up against them.

Though buoyed by the new finding, the researchers caution that they can't positively identify the distinctive squid until specimens are captured and studied. They note, however, that the creature resembles the recently identified family Magnapinnidae, characterized so far only by its juvenile members.

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