Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Breaking Cthulhu News: Key West Asperoteuthis acanthoderma

A great cephalopod blog site can be found here.

It's a Girl: Atlantic mystery squid undergoes scrutiny by Janet Raloff

Three weeks ago, while working the waters south of Key West, Fla., a chartered fishing boat hauled in a surprise: the fresh carcass of a huge squid unlike anything that the people on the boat had ever seen. In fact, according to marine biologists, the gelatinous creature is unlike any known in the Atlantic Ocean.

The fishing boat's captain sent the squid's decomposing body to the Mote Marine Laboratory, headquartered in Sarasota, Fla., where cephalopod specialist Debra A. Ingrao has been studying it. When the specimen arrived on Feb. 22, Ingrao promptly sampled its DNA.

"Most squid are 2 feet long or less," Ingrao notes.

Ingrao told Science News in an interview at Mote that her "rough guesstimate" for this creature's intact length is 16 to 24 feet. The tentacles were unusually thin and delicate, Ingrao adds. Last week, after viewing photos of the dissection, Michael Vecchione of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., identified glands that secrete a gel that holds new eggs. Therefore, the specimen is female, he told Ingrao.

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