Scientists Discover Rare Squid Species

Dr. Christopher Kelley
Dr. Christopher Kelley

MANOA (KHNL) - It's normally only found deep in the ocean, but scientists on the Big Island of Hawaii captured a rare species of squid.

This foot and a half long creature may look like a regular squid, but it's quite exotic.  So rare, it doesn't even have an exact scientific name.

For now it's simply called "Species A."

"It's an undescribed species and there's not that many specimens of it available," said Dr. Christopher Kelley, a program biologist with the Hawaii Undersea Research Laboratory.

In fact, it's the only one of its kind available to Hawaii scientists.

"They were unable to get new specimens of it for genetic analysis until now and that's why it's important because this is the first fresh specimen in quite some time," said Dr. Kelley.

It lived about 3,000 feet deep in the waters near the Big Island, until it got sucked up by an underwater system.

Scientists found it on June 26.

There was some initial confusion about whether the animal was a squid or an octopus.

"Squids have ten appendages, eight arms and two tentacles," said Dr. Kelley.  "And octopus have eight arms."

This specimen is a squid even though it only has eight arms. Its tentacles were torn off.

With this discovery, scientists hope for more rare aquatic treasures.

"There's a lot of unknown animals down in deep water and here was an opportunity to learn about one of these animals," said Dr. Kelley.  "We just hope there's lot more opportunities like this."

Opportunites to learn about the deep blue.

Because of this find, the National Energy Laboratory on the Big Island, will work with local high school students to check the intake screen more frequently.  The goal is to learn about new and unusual underwater species.