Surprising Sea Animals Discovered in 2006

News photos of unique sea creatures from the Census for Marine Life's 2006 research projects.
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New Squid Is Champion Chewer

This previously unknown squid was among 80,000 deep-sea organisms collected from the northern Mid-Atlantic Ridge, a chain of undersea mountains halfway between Europe and North America.

The species, dubbed Promachoteuthis sloani, was caught along with around 50 other types of squid during trawls as deep as 1.2 miles (3 kilometers) by a Census of Marine Life team. The team, from the Norwegian-led MAR-ECO program, is investigating life along the world's ocean mountain ranges.

The new species has unusually small, semi-opaque eyes and large numbers of suckers on its arms. The shape of its beak suggests the squid is a powerful chewer, MAR-ECO researchers say.

While soft-bodied squid are often damaged during deep-sea trawls, their hard mouthparts are unique to each species and so can be used to help identify different species, the team says.

The new specimen has also provided material to help flesh out the physical descriptions of previously discovered but poorly known related species, the researchers add.

Around 60,000 of the organisms collected during the Mid-Atlantic Ridge survey were fish, which experts are working to document and identify.

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Photograph by MAR-ECO/R. Young ©2006, Courtesy of the Census of Marine Life
 
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