Photo in the News: Rare "Octosquid" Captured in Hawaii

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July 6, 2007—It looks like a gourmet's dream—part octopus, part calamari.

But scientists can't seem to get their arms around this ocean-going oddity, which has been dubbed "octosquid."

When the animal was sucked up from 3,000-foot (914-meter) depths by a deep-sea pipeline Tuesday at the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority in Kailua-Kona (NELHA), scientists were initially stumped.

The foot-long octosquid had the body of a squid but eight tentacles like an octopus—and it lacked the long, flowing tentacles reminiscent of squid.

After the creature died two days later, NELHA operations manager Jan War noticed the squid was missing two tentacles, which probably broke off during its journey up the pipeline. The missing appendages had given the animal a more octopuslike appearance, War told National Geographic News.

The specimen was preserved and sent to the University of Hawaii-Manoa's oceanography team, which examined the carcass and today announced the deep-sea squid belongs to an already identified species. However, so little is known about the species that scientists have not yet given it a name.

Finding new or rare species is common in the pitch-black depths of the squid's home, which have still been largely unexplored by people.

The pipeline has already yielded some perplexing surprises, such as one still-unnamed fish with an eellike body that could be an entirely new genus, War said.

—Christine Dell'Amore

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