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Rare piglet squid photographed in rescue aquarium

 20th Jul 2009

A rare 'piglet squid', which usually lives in the darkness of the deep ocean has been seen around the world for the first time thanks to being  photographed by the director of the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium, Mike Schaat.

The highly unusual creature is about the size of an orange and its skin pigmentation and tentacles have formed so that the creature appears to have a broad smile and curly hair. It is called the piglet squid because it is a round shape and is known to be a slow swimmer.

The piglet squid (Helicocranchia pfefferi) lives some 320 feet (100 metres) below the surface and little is known about its behaviour. It is, however, known to have light emitting organs that help it to navigate around the dark waters.

The director of the aquarium based in San Pedro, California, managed to capture the creature on film after the specimen was collected in the waters between Los Angeles and Catalina Island as part of a conservation programme for the Southern Californian waters.

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