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Tawi-Tawi Squidworm
Written by Loren   
Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Leaded by Dr. Filemon Romero, a scientist from this municipality and a consultant of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), said that a new species of "squidworm" (Teuthidodrilus samae) was found in the bentho-pelagic zone on the Tawi-Tawi side of the Celebes Sea in the waters of South Ubian municipality.

A team of foreign scientists from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, NOAA Ocean Exploration Program, the National Geographic Society, and NSF Centers of Ocean Science Education Excellence and University of California, Los Angeles led by Dr. Larry Madin also joined Romero's team during the ISSP.

According to Romero, the new genus was called after the gentle Sama people of Tawi-Tawi where it was found by a group of scientists.

In coordination with Tawi-Tawi Gov. Sadikul A. Sahali and the municipal governments of South Ubian, Simunul, and Sapah Sapah in the province of Tawi-Tawi, the mission was successfully done.

Romero said that they used an underwater robot, which is remotely operated, at a depth of over 2,000 meters.

He described the newly found species a free-swimming worm with up to 10 squid-like limbs, with a smarmy flattened body which about 3.5 inches long and possesses 25 or more pairs of translucent white paddles arranged on its sides for swimming, and up to 10 fragile, tentacle-like appendages at its head that are the same length as its body or longer.

In addition he said that the species is eyeless but it can move around using the frilly organs on its head for smell and what seem to be structures at the tips of its appendages specialized for touch or smell.

This only shows that Philippine waters, specifically Tawi-Tawi waters could still be regarded as one of the globally most important biodiversity areas in the Coral Triangle, which is said to be the center of marine biodiversity in the world.

A discovery like this is also a wakeup call to all the people to save the environment from any pollutants. [via mb.com.ph]


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