Researchers at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute in Massachusetts and Scripps Institution of Oceanography in California discovered a rare animal, a mollusk, and have named it the Squid Worm because of its close relationship to the latter.
However, the scientific name of this rare mollusc is Teuthidodrilius Samae and it is a new species.
Discovery of the Squid Worm
The squid was discovered during an expedition in 2017 at 3,000 meters above sea level off the coast of Indonesia.
These waters are considered one of the least explored on the planet, but the discovery of this new species shows how much can be found in these depths.
This discovery has greatly surprised the scientific community, since doing other research, in 7 dives they have discovered 16 individual samples, that is, the Squid Worm is very common.
Also, other investigations are being carried out to try to discover relatives of the same genus.
The study of these newly discovered rare animals could help to reconstruct the evolutionary history of the creatures and determine what characteristics they adapted to.
It is important to note that in India in 2004, researchers found a specimen that looked similar to the squid worm, however by then they were unable to capture it so they cannot ensure its kinship.
Squid Worm characteristics
This rare animal is a segmented worm, like an earthworm, but with the difference that it has a strange appearance and for many people it is not attractive at all.
One of its main characteristics is that it has a conical colour between black and brown.
Its body measures approximately 9 centimeters, has 25 pairs of white cells, as well as 10 appendages on the front side that make its appearance unusual and resemble that of a squid.
These appendages have the appearance of very fine tentacles and arms. It is believed that it uses these appendages to collect food scraps that fall into the sea.
To move around, it uses the cells on either side of its body.
An adult squid worm is dark brown, covered with a gelatinous shell. While the younger worms are transparent so it is almost impossible to identify them in the depths of the sea.
This creature has no eyes to help it move around, yet it relies on its organs in its head to smell.
In addition to this, it also has a kind of structure at the tip of its appendages that help it to touch or smell.
Feeding of the Squid Worm
Because it was only recently studied, there is not much specific information about the eating habits of this rare species of animal.
However, according to the scientific community and the research that has been done, the squid worm feeds on “sea snow,” organic detritus that constantly falls to the bottom of the sea from above, such as fecal matter, dead animals, and other waste.
Reproduction of the Squid Worm
The reproduction of the Squid Worm is still a subject of debate, because being so heterogeneous they can reproduce in a sexual or asexual way as well as by internal or external fertilization.
It has also been determined that some can be hermaphrodites and others have only one sex.
Do they have Predators?
As mentioned above, the squid worm is a recent discovery and for this reason very little has been studied so far.
Therefore, it is not yet known which animal species are predators of this strange mollusk found in Indonesia.