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NOAA/WIkimedia (PD)

The Internet helped a marine institute identify this amazing little squid

It’s so squishy!


Cynthia McKelvey

Internet Culture

The Catalina Island Marine Institute (CIMI) of California posted this vine yesterday of a teeny glass squid.

“Glass squid” is actually a general term for roughly 60 species of squid—including the colossal squid—Heather Peterson, assistant program director of CIMI, told the Daily Dot in an email. She said she’s pretty sure the squid in the vine is a cockatoo squid.

Peterson explained the Internet helped her identify the mollusk.

“Jimmy Rivera, one of our instructors, jumped into the water and found a strange creature floating at the surface,” she said. “He called over the lifeguard and they scooped it up and put it in a bucket. At first it was puffed up like a gelatinous ball, but after a few minutes it relaxed and opened up to reveal itself to us as a small squid. I had a pretty good guess of what it was, but not what it was called, so I jumped on the Internet.”

Peterson said she couldn’t find much information on the Web about the creatures, but she thinks the orange organ in the middle is its digestive tract, which it also uses for buoyancy. She also said that she observed orange pigment cells—called chromatophores—in its skin, but that this species of squid tends to stay clear for camouflage in the deep ocean.

She also said that this species is abundant and not threatened by fisheries.

“We feel extremely lucky to live where we are and to be exposed to so many amazing experiences like this. Today we were able to share this experience with thousands of people in the science community,” Peterson said. “Many people may have never heard of this animal before today, and we have been able to share photos and video of this cool deep sea critter.  Being able to share moments like this with others in the science community is a truly rewarding experience!”

Photo by NOAA/WIkimedia (PD)

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