The elusive, deep-sea pigeon squid is found for the first time in Australian waters

The elusive, deep-sea pigeon squid is found for the first time in Australian waters

Australia is home to all sorts of weird and wonderful creatures – and scientists have discovered another strange inhabitant.

An elongated squid with long, sparse-like fibers lurking in the deep sea is first found in Australian waters.

Researchers at CSIRO and Museums filmed five pigeon squid in the Victoria Great Australian Bite, 3,000 meters below sea level.

Before these views, Published in PLOS One Magazine Today, mysterious creatures have only been reported a dozen times worldwide – never in Australian waters.

At the time CSIRO marine ecologist and study lead author Deborah Osterhage, R.V. He recalled scrolling through the footage recorded by cameras dragged behind the Investigator, and saw his first Pickfin squid.

“When I was looking at pictures and videos, all of a sudden I saw this squid and I immediately knew what it was because I was a deep sea geek,” Ms. Osterhage said.

“It had big paddles, really long, thin strands and elbow-shaped shapes.

Then he saw the second Pickfin squid in the scenes.

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Pickfin’s squid, as their name implies, the big paddles fold in smooth, unchanging motion.

But they also play with 8m long thin, sticky threads that hang from the ends of their short arms and tents. The ‘joint’ is like an elbow.

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These spaghetti-like threads are unique to Pickfin Squid.

‘Like going to a bar’

To confirm that he liked Bigfin’s squid in the film, Ms. Osterhage sent footage to one person Scientifically named for the Pickfin squid family 1998 Magnabinidae: Smithsonian Natural History Museum by zoologist Mike Vechion.

He confirmed the views, saying it was not unexpected: “If you look for a long time in any deep water area other than the poles, you will sooner or later see pigfins.”

But what really surprised him came from the shots taken during the 2017 RV Investigator survey using the remote control submarine robot.

A large ship, painted blue, green and white, printed on the 'Investigator' and 'Marine National Facility' page
R.V. Investigator’s voyages turned five Pickfin squid views.(ABC News: Gregor Salmon)

Not only did this trip discover three more pigfin squid, but they all seemed to be coming together at the same time – an unprecedented behavior in animals.

Dr. Vechion is not sure why they will gather at that place. The currents in that area rotate them together at that point.

They may even feed or breed.

“We don’t know how they reproduce – we don’t know anything,” he said.

“But we began to find evidence that some deep-sea swimming animals coexist to form germination clusters.

Tangled in fibers like spaghetti

Very few pigfin squid specimens we had were washed up on the beaches and found, or caught, in the stomach of a large animal.

But biologists were able to work from these samples, and those long sparse-like fibers were wrapped in microscopic absorbers.

“It makes them incredibly sticky. If anything hits it, it’s like sticky fly paper or spider web,” Dr. Vechion said.

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“You can see when they hit the pieces of the submarine. It looks like they have a hard time getting out.”

The new footage also showed how Pickfin Squid reels in their threads.

“They roll them up in very tight coils, which is what brings them in, so when they swim, they don’t pull back 20 feet of noise,” Dr. Vecchion said.

R.V. Ms. Osterhage said one of the nearly 900 species found during Investigator’s voyages was a rare creature, new to the Great Australian Bite, and nearly 300 species new to science.

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