Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Cute Googly-Eyed Stubby Squid

Scientists aboard the exploration vehicle Nautilus spotted what looks to be a child’s toy dropped onto the ocean floor off the coast of California. No, maybe it’s a Pokémon. But what if it’s an infant child of Cthulhu? This creature appears to be a cross between Zoidberg and Barney, but it’s a live cephalopod. It doesn’t do anything in the video, but the commentary from the observing scientists is worth a watch. The animal is Rossia pacifica, or the stubby squid.
"On that watch it happened to be a lot of geology folks or ecology folks, so a lot of the commentary was of course more like 'What is this thing, it's so cute!' and sometimes we have less of that when we see rocks," Samantha Wishnak, a science communication fellow aboard the E/V Nautilus, told Live Science.

The scientists on watch during the squid sighting also initially misidentified the stubby squid as a cuttlefish, which the squid is closely related to. Wishnak said the E/V Nautilus team was able to rule out cuttlefish, as the species is not found in the eastern Pacific Ocean. With a few other ideas for what the species might be, the researchers on board collaborated with scientists ashore and at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and MBARI, to identify the stubby squid.
While it's not a cuttlefish, it may be a cuddle-fish. (via Metafilter)

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