Australia is home to a host of weird and wonderful creatures, and now it can add the rare Bigfin Squid to its inventory.
Scientists aboard a deep-sea research voyage led by the national science agency CSIRO have recorded five individuals in the Great Australian Bight at depths of up to three kilometres.
It’s a first for Australian waters, and one of only a dozen confirmed sightings worldwide.
Alongside its large fins, the appropriately named Bigfin Squid (family Magnapinnidae) has striking long arm and tentacle filaments.
“Differences in their appearance meant we were able to confirm they were five separate individuals, rather than the same squid multiple times, and although the surveys covered a relatively large area, the squid were actually found clustered close together,” says marine scientist Deborah Osterhage.
From the recordings, the team was able to measure the length of one squid, finding its tentacle filaments were more than 11 times their body length.
They also observed their colours and behaviours, including filament coiling behaviour which has not previously been seen in squids.
The findings are reported in the journal PLOS ONE.
The Royal Institution of Australia has an Education resource based on this article. You can access it here.
Related reading: There’s a new squid in town
Amelia Nichele is a science journalist at The Royal Institution of Australia.
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