The waters of southern Australia could be teeming with a type of rarely seen squid.
After using new technology to search for the squid, researchers found the sightings of them in the southern hemisphere more than doubled.
The bigfin squid is a deep-sea dwelling cephalopod known for its long-trailing tentacles.
Sightings of the squid in the wild previously numbered around only a dozen all over the world, with only three in the southern hemisphere and none in Australian waters, according to scientists at the CSIRO and Museums Victoria.
But researchers have now recorded five new sightings of what they’re confident are individual squid in the Great Australian Bight.
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“These represent the first records of the bigfin squid in Australian waters and more than double the known records from the southern hemisphere,” the study published on PLOS ONE reads.
The improved technology also made it possible for the researchers to find out more about them.
The project used remote-controlled seacraft and a towed camera system to reach depths of up to 3258m and lasers to more accurately measure the size of the squid they encountered.
Two squid were sighted in November 2015 and three more in March 2017.
Because deep-sea squid live in virtually inaccessible parts of the world for most humans there is still a lot we don’t know about them, but the researchers said discoveries like this one show why it’s so important to explore the depths of the ocean.
Previous studies haven’t found the squid with such frequency, which the researchers said suggests a “higher than average” population could exist in Australian waters.