By Erin Kelley
The verdict is still out on what to call the squid that was discovered in the pipes at the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority on June 26th. The animal was initially thought to be half octopus, half squid because it only had eight arms when discovered by Jan War, NELHA operations manager; however, biologists have agreed that the animal did have two outer arms that previously broke off at the base of the body.
Scientists at the University of Hawaii, School of Oceanography, where the specimen is preserved, identified the genus of the squid, Mastigoteuthis, but the species is unidentified. The squid is so rare it will most likely be donated to the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C. Although it is not certain who will suggest a name for the species, War said that if NELHA was granted the privilege, they would have a contest to pick the best suggested name.
“Although I found it, I don’t believe I should be the one to name it because I am part of team that works here,” War said.
War and Christopher Kelley, program biologist for the Hawaii Undersea Research Lab, have talked about putting together a program together that would allow biologists to sample more of the specimens coming from the pipes and put them on display.
“We have been pulling some interesting stuff out of these pipes since we started in 1987,” War said.
The laboratory has two deep seawater intake pipes located at 2,000 and 3,000 feet, which pull in water to be bottled and sold primarily in Asia. The creatures that get sucked into the pipes are those too weak to fight the current to swim away. Currently, it takes a crane 90 minutes to pull specimens found in the pipes; unfortunately, many animals are dead by the time they are found. Kelley and War are hoping to get the local high school involved where students could use fishing nets to pull up specimens more often so there is a better likelihood they will be alive.