Image: Teuthidodrilus samae Osborn, Madin & Rouse, 2011.

Teuthidodrilus samae Osborn, Madin & Rouse, 2011.

Family Acrocirridae: Teuthidodrilus samae Osborn, Madin & Rouse, 2011 (specimen from the Celebes Sea, photographed alive in the laboratory aboard the research vessel).

Michael Aew
© Michael Awe


This species known as the “squidworm” was collected deep in the water column of the Celebes Sea (Indonesia) and is about 9 cm in length. The animal was initially observed in 2007 with a remotely operated vehicle Max Rover Global Explorer, operated by the Philippines research vessel BRP Hydrographer Presbitera, at depths of 2259-2800 m. Only seven specimens ranging in length from 20-94 mm were collected by the ROV, about 100 m above the seafloor. More individuals were observed on 7 more dives and a total of 16 individuals were seen. How can such a distinctive, large and colourful creature have eluded scientists before? They have been observed swimming very rapidly, and it has been suggested that they can detect the presence of traditional collecting gear perhaps by changes in water movement and take avoiding action. Underwater film footage indicates that they are suspension feeders that feed on large aggregations of marine “snow” (fine particles of organic matter) found in the water column.

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