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New Deep Sea Squid 190

texchanchan writes: "Yahoo reports on a newly discovered species of deep-sea squid, quoting scientists as saying the creatures are very different from normal giant squids. 'New species are a dime a dozen. This is fundamentally different' in behavior and appearance -- with 10 identical long skinny arms and a jellyfish-like hunting strategy. 'We don't know of any cephalopod that has arms like that.' --Michael Vecchione of the U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service. 'I had never seen anything like this creature,' oceanographer William Sager of Texas A&M says."
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New Deep Sea Squid

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  • squidish (Score:5, Interesting)

    by CordMeyer ( 452485 ) on Friday December 21, 2001 @06:15AM (#2736661) Homepage
    All squid have ten arms, but 2 are usually much longer & skinnier than the others. It seems this one has them all the same length. the 2 longer tentacles are used for feeding, they shoot them into schools of fish & then retract them. the other 8 are for propulsion.
    A Soviet tanker in 1965 came across a battle between a giant squid and a sperm whale that would have weighed around 40 tonnes. The fight continued for some time and finished far below in the depths, beyond the range of the tanker's sonar equipment. About an hour after the sighting the strangled body of the whale was found floating in the ocean. It still had the giant squid wrapped around its body. But the squid did not win - its head was found inside the stomach of the whale!
    • Re:squidish (Score:3, Interesting)

      by satanami69 ( 209636 )
      Urban legend? []

      This new squid looks like a half-breed Manta Ray/Squid.

      I couldn't get enough of Discovery Channel's Search for the a Giant Squid []

      • The file you reference mentions the story, but doesn't claim it's a myth (it doesn't claim otherwise either).

        It sounds like whales prey on the squid, but not vice-versa. It's possible that this particular whale just took a squid that was too large for it.

        • Did anyone else note the innane quotes from Michael Vecchione?

          ``These are real mystery,'' said Michael Vecchione of the National Marine Fisheries Service and the National Museum of Natural History in Washington. He describes the squid in Friday's issue of the journal Science.

          ``They behave strangely but they also look really weird,'' he said in an interview.


          ``I think those long extensions are really sticky,'' Vecchione guessed.

          Vecchione was also heard to say, "I think those really really sticky extenstions could hold the Incredible Hulk" and "my really weird squid could beat up your stupid old giant squid."
          When asked why he thought the extensions were "really sticky" and not "somewhat sticky" he replied, "well, I don't know, but wouldn't it be really cool if they were?"

      • I saw that, but did not like it.
        A caveat for any other documentary fanatics:

        Beware all documentaries entitled "Search for the (something)". . .it by and large means that they didn't find it
    • Re:squidish (Score:2, Funny)

      by Psiren ( 6145 )
      Mmmmmmm... forbidden squid... aarrrgggg...
    • Re:squidish (Score:5, Informative)

      by Rogerborg ( 306625 ) on Friday December 21, 2001 @07:11AM (#2736767) Homepage
      • A Soviet tanker in 1965 came across a battle between a giant squid and a sperm whale

      Referenced in several places [], along with claims that Architeuthis will aggressively attack whales and ships. Bear in mind though, that the beak of an Architeuthis only opens a few inches, and is ill suited to eating anything as large as a human, let alone a 40 ton whale or a 15,000 ton ship!

      This new species is certainly unusual (compared to the surface beasties that we're used to), but bear in mind that it's part of a subclass that varies in length from 6mm to 16,000mm (and nearly half a ton, that we know of).

      • Bear in mind though, that the beak of an Architeuthis only opens a few inches, and is ill suited to eating anything as large as a human, let alone a 40 ton whale or a 15,000 ton ship!

        That beak doesn't have to open all that far if it can pull its prey apart first. ISTR reading some reference to a "sea monster" that was likely an Architeuthis dux trying to tear a rudder off a World War I troopship.
    • That's a fantastic story, which I got interested and did a little Google search [].

      But from the results you can't tell if it's true :-)

      First one will say it's a mith, second it could be true, a few witness reports and more mith saying here and there....
    • Propulsion? (Score:2, Interesting)

      by GungaDan ( 195739 )
      Not to question the authority of anyone whose post rated "+5" - just out to satisfy my curiosity: I thought squid moved by water-jet propulsion, squeezing water through the head/body (mantle?) and directing the flow with an articulated "nozzle." How efficient could propulsion by rounded tentacle be, anyway, for a creature that swims in open water, rather than "walking" on the ocean floor?
      • Re:Propulsion? (Score:3, Informative)

        by leshert ( 40509 )
        How efficient could propulsion by rounded tentacle be[...]

        It doesn't use the tentacles for swimming, according to the story on NPR yesterday. It has a pair of elephant-ear-shaped wings on top of the body, which give it both good speed and fine control, and make it to hover while it's feeding.

        Current conjecture is that the tentacles are "sticky" (whether due to a substance or suction mechanisms, they didn't say). One specimen that was actually caught on video seems to be "stuck" to the submersible that was shooting the video, and coudn't easily get free. The squid appears to spread the tentacles much like a spider's web, hoping to snag smal crustaceans that bump into it.
        • Re:Propulsion? (Score:2, Informative)

          by GungaDan ( 195739 )
          Actually, I was referring to the "first post" from CordMyer, in which s/he asserted that all squid have 10 arms, that 2 were typically elongated, and that "the other 8 are used for propulsion." I'm not sure exactly how this new breed is said to get about, but I thought known squid types did move by a form of underwater jet propulsion, not by using 8 arms for propulsion. Other squid also have the "wings" on the mantle noted on the new mystery beast, but those aid in directional control, not in propulsion.
        • Re:Propulsion? (Score:3, Insightful)

          it could be some kind of cuttlefish - don't they move by fins on their body?
  • Question? (Score:2, Funny)

    by digitalunity ( 19107 )
    Yeah, that's neat and all. But how's the calamari []?
  • just wait (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Next thing you know, the town of Miskatonik is going to be a hustling and bustling place.
    Then the pods will come and duke it out with the Great Dark Lord. This is pretty cool. First, we had FotR come out this week. Now, Lovecraftian sea beings are being discovered.
    At least it wasn't discovered at Innsmouth.
  • if at least 14 of these exist :)
  • by WinAddict ( 545391 ) on Friday December 21, 2001 @06:34AM (#2736704) Homepage add the new creature to their menus. Let's have a naming contest for the new sashimi. My entry - decgu.
  • Is this the (maybe) myth cracken ?
    • Since the Kraken (of norse mythologi) was the sice of a small island, I doubt this tiny creature is the Kraken.
      • Personally, I think the giant squid is the mythical Kraken, especially as an 80' specimen was found on a California beach a few years ago (late '80s? early '90s? ... mind like a steele sieve ...)
      • Yes, after all, nobody ever exaggerates the size of the fish when they get back to port. I don't think it's too unlikly that something like this could be the start of the Kraken myth, especially once the story is told over hundreds of year through word of mouth.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 21, 2001 @06:43AM (#2736719)
    Isn't it obvious what this is? It's a spawn of cthulhu! It's not a squid, but an alien monster that protects the Great Old One and works in colaboration with the Deep Ones!

    I remember reading about these huge squids as a child. It's really cool to have a genuine mystery here, it's just sad that before long it'll get studied and filmed and explained and I can't hope for the Cthulhu link anymore. ;-)

    Did they ever discover any unexplained ruins in the Antarctic or in central Australia?
  • How sqidish (Score:2, Informative)

    by teaserX ( 252970 )
    The article is a little light on details. Other than the ten legs nothing else seems to suggest this is a squid. It feeds like a jellyfish, it looks like a jellfish(to me). Radial symetry is characteristic of jellyfish so ten legs of equal lenght don't rule out jellyfish. Nothing is mentioned about the rigidity of the beast which would point in the direction of the squid. Tranceparency (can't tell from the photo) might indicate jellyfish, but not rule out squid, depending on internal structures that might be seen. Based solely on the article I am inclined to decalre it a jellyfish. Perhaps more than five or ten minutes of behavioral observation and a captured specimen to study would be helpful.

    • Not be an ass (like I usualy am) but I just want to point out that these marine biologiests probably have a lot more experiance with sea life and more data about this thing then some slashdotter who's read a Yahoo! news artical.
      • Oh they're biologiests . Well then it must be a squid to be sure.

      • Who gives a fuck who says what? Fuck marine biologists and and let them say whatever, cause I was thinking the exact same thing. What exactly made them call this a squid, rather than a jellyfish? I'm not questioning the marine biologist's decision, and I dont think TeaserX was either. What I'd like to know is what key differences might I have overlooked that gives us the differences between squid and jellyfish?

        And sorry autopr0n, but you were being an ass. I figured slashdot, out of all places, would never question a question of authority. (Jee, it's the RECORD COMPANY that said mp3'z are ill3g4l. I think they know what they are talking about cause they know music! ;-)
        • by Happy go Lucky ( 127957 ) on Friday December 21, 2001 @09:33AM (#2736991)
          What exactly made them call this a squid, rather than a jellyfish? I'm not questioning the marine biologist's decision, and I dont think TeaserX was either. What I'd like to know is what key differences might I have overlooked that gives us the differences between squid and jellyfish?

          Some very significant differences. They have differentiated tissue-muscles separate from skin, an actual digestive tract, and probably the most-developed nervous system of all of the invertebrates, including eyes structured similarly to ours. Squid also have an actual circulatory system, but something that actually functions almost like a heart. And squids are actually bilaterally symmetrical. In plain English, that means there's one plane down which you can split a squid, and the two parts will be mirror images of each other.

          OTOH, jellyfish are like anemones and hydrae. That means they're undifferentiated. Their tissues are only two cells thick, because each cell needs to be exposed to seawater in order to get oxygen or nutrients. They're undifferentiated, meaning they don't have different types of cells. They have no real nervous system at all. Nor do they have a circulatory system. They're radially symmetrical, meaning that any radial section will be pretty much identical to any other.

        • Yeah, what do biologists know, they say that penguins are birds, and that bats aren't, when those animals behaviour proves those biologist wrong.

          Well, maybe it isn't that simple.

    • Re:How sqidish (Score:5, Informative)

      by CottonEyedJoe ( 177704 ) on Friday December 21, 2001 @09:42AM (#2737015) Journal
      A cursory examination of the photo would reveal to nearly ANY biologist (marine or not, though my experience is in marine invertebrates) that this is NOT a scyphozoan ("Jellyfish"), or even a Cnidarian (supergroup containing jellyfish, corals, anemone's, hydras etc...) If you really didnt want to believe this is a squid, you might suppose it is a tentacled ctenophore (comb jelly which most people have never heard of but are really quite common).

      From looking at the picture the animal appears to "fly" using its two HUGE fins (the fins are squid features). The mantle (head covering) is very narrow at the dorsal end (the end at the top of the picture Note to those who know what dorsal means: YES this IS the dorsal side of a squid...) while being fairly broad at the ventral side to accomodate (we presume) the mouth and organs.

      The features of this animal are not at all un-squidlike, using occams razor and the BIOLOGICAL features of the animal (not just the way it looks to some shmo) its easy to hypothesize that this is a squid.

      Take a look at the Pteropod Sea Angel (Clione) [] and tell me its a snail. When you can do that successfully come back and comment on this animal. (Note to others: Clione is VERY VERY cool, take a look at the pics if this /. story interested you)
    • You might have noticed in the article that they have found juvenile specimens of this creature. I was hearing an interview with one of the scientists on the radio. He said they had a pickled specimens of a 6-inch baby in the Smithsonian. So I'm assumming they have used that actual specimen to determine it is a squid, and not a jelly.

      Remember how diverse cephalapods are. They include everything from garden slugs, to oysters, to giant squids.
    • I had never seen anything like this creature, Sager told Science. It just hung there, looking at us, as if suddenly seeing ALVIN float up like a whale with lights was no big deal.

      The fact that it was "looking at us" suggests that this animal has reasonably well developed eyes, which is definitely a characteristic absent in jellyfish. Certainly some jellies may have light sensing organs, particularly those that live at great depths. But not such that you'd call them eyes.

      Of course the "looking" could have been a misinterpretation of the animal's behaviour.

  • New squid? (Score:1, Offtopic)

    by Zocalo ( 252965 )
    Does anyone know how this new squid is going to help my web cache performance, and where are the changelog and download URLs?
  • by Merik ( 172436 ) on Friday December 21, 2001 @06:57AM (#2736747) Homepage
    Considering that the earth 90% water and how little we have catalouged the deep sea, its going to be interestig to see what we find...

    The deep sea pages [] at Whitman College have some cool pictures of wierd deep sea creatures.

    The Beastiary [] at NOVA also has a decent rundown of whats down there.
  • Link w/Video (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Here is a Link with video []. Didn't test it though as I don't have the required Realplayer at work.
  • Not a squid (Score:3, Redundant)

    by Nephrite ( 82592 ) on Friday December 21, 2001 @07:05AM (#2736758) Journal
    As far as I can tell, this is not a squid but rather a new kind of jellyfish.

    Here is my reasons

    1. All tentacles are of same size
    2. They are getting thinner at the end and there is no visible suckers on them
    3. The whole thing is radially symmetric except the two big 'wings' which are attached to the sides of its tube-like body
    4. No eyes visible
    5. As the article itself states the thing uses jellyfish hunting strategy
    6. The thing seems a bit transparent but there is no internal organs visible

    So judging from what I just said, it could be a Hydrozoa family jellyfish or considering the 'wings' a Ctenophora family jellyfish.

    That's it. Maybe I'm wrong but those are the first thing that came to my mind when I saw the photo.

    Disclaimerthe above is just an assumption based on high school zoology course I took about ten years ago and of course may be incorrect

    • Re:Not a squid (Score:4, Informative)

      by markj02 ( 544487 ) on Friday December 21, 2001 @07:37AM (#2736802)
      These things apparently can move quite fast and in a coordinated way. That goes way beyond what jellyfish are capable of. A biologist looking at a moving video image would be very unlikely to confuse the two, and I suspect lots of expert marine biologists have looked at them.
      • who is to say that a Jelly fish can not evolve to move like that?

        lets see, which one has less evolving to do, a squid to a jelly ish or a jelly fish to a squid?

        the Jelly fishes have it.
        • by archen ( 447353 ) on Friday December 21, 2001 @10:14AM (#2737116)
          It seems to me like there are a lot of people chasing their tails around about whether it's a squid or a jellyfish. Well if it doesn't really fit into either category, doesn't mean that it is something ELSE? God forbid we have to change the books.

          Therefore I propose:

          half squid + half jellyfish = Jellysquish
    • Uh, I would trust the scientists, dude.

      Yeah, from the video alone, you could be right, but a quick look at one would probably scream chordate-- CNS, circulatory system, etc.

      Once you've got that, a cephalopod starts looking like your only option.

      C'mon. A Nautilus is pretty fsck'd up looking too--it looks like a bad guy from Metroid more than anything else.
    • Re:Not a squid (Score:4, Insightful)

      by RFC959 ( 121594 ) on Friday December 21, 2001 @10:22AM (#2737144) Journal
      All tentacles are of same size
      This would not necessarily be unique to this squid. Vampyroteuthis infernalis [] (OK, not technically a "squid", but a cephalopod) appears to have eight arms of equal length, until you examine it very closely. (As a side note, Vampyroteuthis is ugly [] as sin [].) Then again, we barely know what this thing is yet. Vampyroteuthis was originally thought to be an octopus, and is considered to have rather jellyfish-like behavior, and ended up getting put in its own taxonomic category, so the magnapinnidae could be something in their own class too.

      As for "no eyes visible" and "transparent"...we've got one not-very-good photo; the scientists say they videotaped it for up to ten minutes. I think I'll go with their judgement. Besides which eyelessness is not unknown among deep-sea creatures either, like the hagfish. So, an eyeless, mostly symmetric squid that behaves like a would be a weird squid, but it could still be one.

    • It looks like a Cephalopod to me

      1: If this is an ancient group, maybe the two longer arms on squid are a specialization.

      2: Well, ordinary squid tentacles does get thinner toward the ends too.

      3: Most jellyfish have several more than 10 tentacles. The two 'wings' looks like the same structure are the fins on squid and cuttlefish to me. There are other squid that have 10 equally long arms, the Belemnoidea.

      Read more about Cephalopods at ls/mollusca/cephalopoda/coleoidea/coleoidea.html []

      I am a biologist, but not a marine biologist. I do hope someone catches one of these creatures. Wonder what its closest relatives (among other Cephalopods)are...
  • by Merik ( 172436 ) on Friday December 21, 2001 @07:09AM (#2736764) Homepage
    watch it swim []

    (requires realplayer)
  • First underwater ruins are found, now
    new forms of squid.. Apropos, any news
    from the boys at McMurdo Station?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Is this news? If I had wanted information about the latest squid releases, I would have gone to freshsquid [].
  • by Malk-a-mite ( 134774 ) on Friday December 21, 2001 @08:30AM (#2736869) Journal []

    Couple of photos I haven't seen on other sites here - as well as a video of it swimming (in QT).

  • by SonnicJohnny ( 321966 ) on Friday December 21, 2001 @09:14AM (#2736948) Homepage
    we get to see this on Iron Chef?
  • Does anyone else notice the startling similarity between this beast and an Alien face-hugger? I sure as hell ain't goin' deep sea divin any time soon. Just as long as none of those researching fools try to bring one back to "study" it...
  • Then how the hell do they know it is a squid?

    it looks like a squid(sort of) but it acts like a jelly fish.......

    what if it is a deep sea Jelly fish? jelly fish can grow to be 23 feet, perhaps this jelly fish developed a look like a squid because that shape is the best to have for such depths...I mean a normal Jelly fish would be crushed under the pressure so why not evelve a body structure like that.

    and as for Giant squid, I am still waiting for a live adult to be cought, so far only dead ones have been washed up and the tails of british sailers from WWII is all we have as evidence that they do come to the surface
    (in WWII british sailers had red Life vests, on one ship, after the germans sunk it, a good 10 or so sailers were taken by Giant squid right from the life boats!!)
  • by swagr ( 244747 ) on Friday December 21, 2001 @09:39AM (#2737008) Homepage
    ...These are [a] real mystery ... no one has captured one ... This is well beyond a new species ... do not act or look like other squid ... We don't know of any cephalopod that has arms like that ..."

    So why are they still calling it a squid?
  • "Large Squid Baffles and Amuses Scientists"

    " Fishermen are scared out there. I don't think 'amused' is the word I'd choose to describe it! "

    As would say President Whitmorre to Dr Okum.

    Well an encounter with such a puppy at sea certainly would not amuse *me* :)
  • Nickelodeon... (Score:2, Insightful)

    So does this mean that SpongeBob will have to go jellyfishing for Squidward now?

    SpongeBob []
  • Hmmmm. (Score:3, Funny)

    by Thaddeus ( 14369 ) on Friday December 21, 2001 @10:11AM (#2737103)
    They mostly come at night. Mostly...
  • 10 arms? I only saw 6... am I blind or something?
  • This creature is really an alien astronaut from the oceans of Europa []....
  • More Videos (Score:2, Informative)

    Here is the original article from Science magazine. 55 1/2505

    And here are more videos on Science's website. 55 1/2505/DC1

    These are from Science's new Brevia section, which includes some quite interesting and readable articles. a
  • by Hard_Code ( 49548 ) on Friday December 21, 2001 @10:36AM (#2737199)
    ...ok, start working on those underwater bases. Somebody hire some scientists to start researching sonic rifles. I'll go and warm up the interceptors.
  • Argh Matey, aye ben tellin' yer fer yars that this Demon Spawn was thar, but yer never believe tha pirates, do ye?

    Screw it, aye thinks it be time to go kill anoth'r World Cup Seeling Champeen.
  • I read about this in the Popular Science that I got this past Saturday (Super Choppers issue). Then today it was in my local newspaper credited to Newsday... Now this, credited to Reuters.

    I didn't check who wrote the article, but I think it's exactly the same in all three cases.

    I thought it strange to read about a science discovery in Popular Science before the news media - usually magazines are the last place to see new discoveries because they're put together and sent to publishing so far in advance - usually a week to two weeks. Maybe these times have been improved from my days as a jogger* at a printer (printing Disney Catalogs, day in, day out), tho.

    *jogger - the guy who pulls stacks of printed pages off a printer. On newer presses joggers just pull off and stack the printed magazines. Don't know if this term is universal or just used by the Quebecor (sp? I think they're extinct anyway, so who cares), whom I worked for about 12 years ago.
  • I first heard about this on All Things Considered yesterday. NPR [] has more coverage and an interview with a biologist. Just listen to yesterdays broadcast (available from the link).
  • Tell me that thing doesn't look like the underwater flapping alien in The Abyss.
  • I can't resist this cheap attempt at karma whoring. I know Will Sager. In fact I was his roommate for one year when I was an undergrad and he was a grad student. BTW, Will is a marine geophysicist/geologist, not a oceanographer nor a marine biologist. So when he says the he has never seen anything like it, well..., he's not a biologist. OTOH, great sound bite Will!
  • by Otter ( 3800 ) on Friday December 21, 2001 @11:34AM (#2737422) Journal
    A recent National Geographic article [] had the most amazing discovery I've seen in a long time: an Australian octopus that mimics dangerous marine animals by changing color and pattern and folding its arms.

    It can bunch its arms into a flattened oval and develop brown patches to resemble a toxic flatfish, curl and hang its arms and turn light blue to resemble a local jellyfish, elongate and develop stripes to look like a sea snake. Absolutely mindblowing.

    Unfortunately the pictures they selected to put on the web don't begin to do it justice.

  • How long will it be before it gets exploited for food, or whatever, to the brink of extinction? I'm sure they'll end up in some Japanese supermarket. Can't have a form of life just doing it's thing on this world now can we?
  • OK, the head is not exactly pyramidal, but the number 23 does appear there (length of tentacles).
  • Designed in response to recent declassification of a Russian "stealth" warship [] and as a countermeausure to the National Missile Defense [].
  • Hmm, yum, looks tasty...
  • Yes, doesn't it look like the alien swimming creature that rescued Ed Harris? Wonder if it glows at all?
  • It looks much more like the Taningia danae than the giant squid that most of us are more familiar with. While Taningia danae has lighted tentacles, the key things to notice would be the prominance of the fins, and the consistency of length of the "arms".

    You can see more comparisons at NASA [] of all places.
  • Squid size (Score:3, Interesting)

    by cnkeller ( 181482 ) <> on Friday December 21, 2001 @12:56PM (#2737814) Homepage
    I had a book back in my younger days (70's,early 80s') called Dangerous Sea Creatures. I believe it was published by Time/Life. What was interesting was the way that they could estimate a squid's size based on it's suckers. Suckers of a given diameter belong to a squid of a certain size. Makes sense, fairly believable. Anyway, they reported that sperm whales had been caught (back in the days of unrestricted whaling) wich sucker marks 18" across. I guess it's pretty obvious what a sucker mark looks like and it's reasonable to assume they game from a giant squid. That brings the length of the attacking squid right around the 175 feet or so of the one reported in the Indian Ocean in the late 60's. I wish I still had this book so I could give out the ISBN etc and make sure I had the story verbatim.
  • It just seems strange that us human's have cloned sheep, yet don't even know what's out there yet.
    Heck, I'm more interested in octopus/jellyfish/ray animals than duplicated sheep.

    I'm still waiting for them to find a nessie :)
  • Large Squid Baffles and *Amuses* Scientists

    " the lady squid says to her husband, 'Not tonight, dear, I have a haddock'..."

    "Come on, people, I know you're out there, I can hear you swimming...."

  • I'm pretty sure I fought and beat this creature in final fantasy 7.

    Does anyone know the name of it? It wasn't even underwater!

    Or was it FF8? I can't keep them apart anymore...

What is algebra, exactly? Is it one of those three-cornered things? -- J.M. Barrie