New large squid found

15 November 2010 | International news release

A new species of squid has been discovered by scientists analysing 7,000 samples gathered during last year’s IUCN-led seamounts cruise in the southern Indian Ocean.

The new species, which was identified by Dr. Vladimir Laptikhovsky, Fishery Scientist from the Falkland Islands Fisheries Department, is 70cm long and is a large member of the chiroteuthid family. Squids from this group are long and slender with light-producing organs, which act as lures to attract prey. So far, more than 70 species of squid have been identified from the seamounts cruise, representing more than 20 percent of the global squid biodiversity.

“For ten days now 21 scientists armed with microscopes have been working through intimidating rows of jars containing fishes, squids, zooplankton and other interesting creatures,”says Prof. Alex Rogers from the Department of Zoology of the University of Oxford. “Many specimens look similar to each other and we have to use elaborate morphological features such as muscle orientation and gut length to differentiate between them.”

The recent discoveries are part of an IUCN-led Seamounts Project, which started a year ago when a team of the world’s leading marine experts ventured into a six-week research expedition above seamounts in the high seas of the Indian Ocean. The aim of the cruise was to unveil the mysteries of seamounts in the southern Indian Ocean and to help improve conservation and management of marine resources in the area.

“The new discoveries will not only satiate the appetite of scientists working in the field, but will help improve conservation and management of Indian Ocean resources and future management of deep-sea ecosystems in the high seas globally,” says Carl Gustaf Lundin, Head, IUCN Global Marine Programme.

See some of the species found during the expedition:


To read the seamounts blog and see the photos, visit: http://seamounts2009.blogspot.com/
Seamounts Project Website: www.iucn.org/marine/seamounts

For more information, to set up interviews and receive high-resolution photos, please contact:
Borjana Pervan, IUCN Media Relations Officer, t +41 22 999 0115, m +41 79 857 4072, e borjana.pervan@iucn.org

Spokespeople
Prof. Alex David Rogers, Department of Zoology, University of Oxford, e alex.rogers@zoo.ox.ac.uk, t+ 44 7590 356 209
Carl Gustaf Lundin, Head, IUCN Global Marine Programme, e carl.lundin@iucn.org, t+41229990

About IUCN

IUCN, International Union for Conservation of Nature, helps the world find pragmatic solutions to our most pressing environment and development challenges.

IUCN works on biodiversity, climate change, energy, human livelihoods and greening the world economy by supporting scientific research, managing field projects all over the world, and bringing governments, NGOs, the UN and companies together to develop policy, laws and best practice.

IUCN is the world’s oldest and largest global environmental organization, with more than 1,000 government and NGO members and almost 11,000 volunteer experts in some 160 countries. IUCN’s work is supported by over 1,000 staff in 60 offices and hundreds of partners in public, NGO and private sectors around the world.

www.iucn.org

Note to editors
Seamounts Project Partners:
The Seamounts Project is supported by expertise and funding supplied by partner organizations including the United Nations Development Programme, the Global Environment Facility, Zoological Society of London, the EAF-Nansen project, the Institute of Marine Research, Agulhas and Somali Current Large Marine Ecosystems Project; the Marine Ecology Laboratory, University of Reunion, the African Coelacanth Ecosystem Programme, as well as the Total Foundation and Censeam.