well, we’ve come a long way since the first squid report i made after we completed superstation 1.  now we’re up to station number 9, and we have just one left to go (although we’ve been collecting some extra samples as the chance arises).  we’ve found 40 species from 21 families, and a good mix of things from the surface waters and things that live much deeper.  our little friend Pterygioteuthis gemmata (with the lovely photophores) has been present in nearly every sample, while some other things we have only seen once on the whole trip.  and nearly every catch has brought in at least one thing we haven’t seen previously, so it’s still exciting whenever a sample comes in.
our favorites so far, in addition to Vampyroteuthis and the silly-looking cranchiids, have included some more cranchiids (one in particular, Egea inermis, is just a beautifully clear sac of fluid, but with huge golden googly eyes); a tiny, bright-red deep sea squid called Bathyteuthis; several onychoteuthids in perfect condition (but i’m a little biased); and a few different species of Histioteuthis, a genus of particularly spectacular squids that are covered in blue-green photophores, and have one huge eye and one ‘normal-sized’ eye.
and yesterday’s trawls brought in some more bizarre and wonderful things. the benthic sample contained two specimens of a small, round squid called Heteroteuthis dagamensis, endemic to this region and not previously encountered on this cruise;  two other new records for the cruise followed in the nekton samples.  the first was a small squid whose family we couldn’t even decide on at first, but after some research we think it may be Alluroteuthis antarctica (since we are in a region where antarctic species occasionally turn up, especially in deep water).  the whole second trawl contained one single, lonely squidlet (among the fish, crustaceans, jellies and pyrosomes) – but a very interesting one.  it’s a strange-looking thing, with almost perfectly circular fins and a gladius (or ‘pen’) that extends in a thin spike so far beyond the fins that it nearly doubles the animal’s mantle length.  this seems to be a paralarva first described in 1920 (from the sargasso sea) by s. stillman berry, who poetically called it Enoptroteuthis spinicauda; more recent authors suggest that it’s a junior synonym of Lepidoteuthis grimaldii, so we’ll have to look at it closely and see what we can find out.
one thing i had hoped to encounter, especially in this particular area, has not turned up yet.  it’s a species or group of species with a lot of associated systematic confusion (their family status isn’t even certain), and it was first reported from here (the walvis ridge), so chances of finding it here should be reasonably high.  there’s still one station to go and i’m keeping my tentacles crossed, but even if it doesn’t turn up this time, there’s plenty to keep me busy and i certainly won’t complain.  i just wanted to officially let the squid gods (or cthulhu, or whoever’s listening on the cosmic ceph frequency) know that if they feel like rewarding me for being a good little teuthologist this year, a few specimens of Walvisteuthis in the next net would really make my day.