Scientists have discovered a new, large, species of squid in the Indian Ocean, says the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
The new species is 70 cm long, long and slender with a light-producing organ acting as a lure to attract prey.
The squid was found during a seamounts cruise in the southern Indian Ocean. Seamounts are typically steep-sided extinct volcanoes that, officially, are at least 1000 m high. The peaks of these undersea mountains are usually from a few hundred to a few thousand meters below the sea surface. So far, more than 70 types of squid have been identified from the seamounts cruise, representing over a fifth of all squid species around the world.
Seamounts are very rich in sealife. Large ocean predators, like sharks and whales, go there to feed during their migrations. The populations of fish which live around the seamounts, though, are targetted by fishermen. Dr. Alex Rogers from the Zoological Society in London says
“Without a doubt, fishing has been the major threat to seamount ecosystems for probably the last 30 or 40 years…because many of these seamounts were a long way from land regulation of these fisheries has been very poor if no completely missing.”
He added that the fish targetted are incredibly long-lived, up to 150 years. They reach maturity late and so are very vulnerable to over-fishing.