Cayman Islands: Rare Squid Species Cruising Their Way To The United States
Last Updated: 24 October 2013

ST. PETERSBURG, October 20, 2013 – Two rare and large species of squid have arrived at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg this weekend from Grand Cayman. The rare specimens have been transported to the University for documentation and preservation before arriving at their final destination at the Smithsonian Institution's preserved cephalopod research collection in Washington D.C.

The collaborative effort, between Grand Cayman's Department of Environment and the University of South Florida St. Petersburg began when Dr. Janice Blumenthal from the Department of Environment received the two animals from local fishermen, Dennis Denton and Jonathan Arch, who found them floating on the surface. She contacted cephalopod experts in the United States for verification of the species. The two species, a Megalocranchia species and an Asperoteuthis acanthoderma, both measuring approximately 2 meters, are in excellent condition and will make excellent additions to the United States cephalopod collection.

Earth2ocean connected the Grand Cayman's Department of Environment and the University of South Florida St. Petersburg with cruise line, Royal Caribbean International, who agreed to transport the specimens from Grand Cayman to Port Canaveral, Fla. Cephalopod specialist Dr. Heather Judkins will document the find with measurements and photography on Thursday, October 24th at USFSP. According to Dr. Blumenthal, "It was a pleasure to work with all the Royal Caribbean staff to arrange this uniquetransfer. They were extremely efficient in arranging the complex logistics of transporting the rare squid aboard their ship and importing them into the United States – though this was of course the first time any of us had attempted this."

The two specimens will provide important scientific data as these two deep sea cephalopod species are rarely encountered as adults. The Megalocranchia is unique as many examined specimens are much smaller and there are very few adult animals in such good condition. Asperoteuthis acanthoderma is also extremely rare – the species was first discovered in the Wider Caribbean in 2007 with the only records until that time indicating that this species was found off the coast of Japan.

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