A very rare deep water squid, discovered by fishermen off the coast of Grand Cayman last month, is the same species, Asperoteuthis acanthoderma, as the specimen recovered off the coast of Little Cayman last year and one of only five of this species found in Atlantic waters so far. The latest find measured more than 6 feet in length (slightly less than the 24lbs 4oz creature found off Little Cayman in May 2008, which was over 7 feet long). It was discovered on Sunday, 27 September, by Dennis Denton, Stuart Mailer, and M. Christine RoseSmyth-Mailer while they were deep sea fishing.
According to Denton they were trolling along a weed line about 1½ miles north of the Rum Point channel when they noticed something in the water ahead of them. “As we went passed we realised it was a large squid, apparently dead, floating just below the surface.”
Recognising the scientific importance of this sighting, Denton marked the location with a GPS and brought in the fishing lines to have a closer look. He explained, “The animal was intact and much larger than we had thought so it was brought on board for better inspection and photographs.” After a call was made to the Department of Environment (DoE) confirming their interest in examining the squid further, it was placed in plastic bags, put on ice, and brought to shore.
DoE Deputy Director for Research and Assessment Timothy Austin and Research Officer Janice Blumenthal collected the squid from Denton, took DNA samples and preserved the specimen. They then contacted cephalopod experts at the Smithsonian Institution, Mote Marine Laboratory, and the University of South Florida’s College of Marine Science to report the discovery. According to Dr. Heather Judkins, a cephalopod expert at the University of South Florida, the squid appears to be Asperoteuthis acanthoderma – a little-known deep sea dwelling species.