“Although not true ‘squids’ (though part of the large group of animals, called cephalopods, that include squids, cuttlefishes and octopuses), pygmy squids coined their common name from their general squid-like appearance and tiny size,” Dr. Reid explained.
“With adults in this group ranging up to about 2 cm in body length (excluding the head, arms and tentacles), these diminutive squids are the smallest cephalopods known.”
“They are found throughout the Indo-Pacific from Australia, through to Thailand and Japan as well as the Indian Ocean side of southern Africa. They inhabit seagrass and mangroves, to which they attach using an oval adhesive pad on the rear end of the upper, or dorsal side, of their bodies.”
Named the Hallam’s pygmy squid (Idiosepius hallami), the new species lives in eastern Australian waters, from Sabina Point (Shoalwater Bay, Queensland) to Narooma in southern New South Wales.
“We first discovered the new squid among the collections of the Australian Museum in Sydney,” Dr. Strugnell said.
“The discovery is significant because there is quite a bit of confusion surrounding the tiny squids, in terms of how many species there are and where they are found, both in Australian waters and beyond,” she added.
“We know a lot more about the larger (and often edible) squid species, but these tiny ones are often overlooked.”
“This discovery led to a broader examination of all the species known from this family of tiny squids and also resulted in a revised classification and better understanding of the group as a whole.”
“People are often surprised to know that so many marine animals are still undiscovered and unnamed. Many are sitting in museum collections waiting to be studied,” Dr. Reid said.
The discovery is outlined in the journal Zootaxa.
Amanda L. Reid Jan M. Strugnell. 2018. A new pygmy squid, Idiosepius hallami n. sp. (Cephalopoda: Idiosepiidae) from eastern Australia and elevation of the southern endemic ‘notoides’ clade to a new genus, Xipholeptos n. gen. Zootaxa 4369 (4); doi: 10.11646/zootaxa.4369.4.1