'Giant' egg masses (spheres) again

Steve O'Shea

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We had this topic on the earlier board, but just letting you know the first record of a 1 metre diameter 'giant squid' egg mass has just been reported off northeastern New Zealand seconds ago..... photos en route soon. :D :D :D :D

Oh to be diving up there right now!!! Hopefully we'll get samples this year and be able to determine what species is responsible for releasing these structures!
Tallyho
O
 

Steve O'Shea

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....and reports of a second egg-mass sighting have just come through!!

BUZZING!
 

Steve O'Shea

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I'd be pretty sure that the eggs were viable, in the sense that they were fertilised prior to the female's release of the egg sphere ... but I'm not so sure whether collecting small samples of the eggs from an egg mass and maintaining them/'incubating' them in some culture environment is a viable proposition.

The first task is to determine what squid species is releasing them; presto, locate, sample & DNA sequence - not a problem (ok, relocating them might be). Moreover, there seem to be two different egg mass sizes, ~ 1 and ~ 2 metres diameter, so in all likelihood we are dealing with eggs from two different species/genera/families of squid (a little more DNA work). It is possible (quite likely) that these huge egg masses belong to something like an ommastrephid squid (eg, Nototodarus, Ommastrephes, or Todarodes), as opposed to Architeuthis (I just don't believe these egg masses are found in 'the right place' for them to belong to Architeuthis), but all of those ommastrephid genera are comparatively small (mantle lengths considerably less than a metre - nothing like Dosidicus) .... I'm at a loss, unless they belong to something like Mastigoteuthis cordiformis (and I don't believe so) or some rather large onychoteuthid squid (like Moroteuthis, and this I don't believe either)). Questions, questions, questions ....

If the DNA/embryological morphology points to the eggs as being ommastrephid then immediately I'd have to rethink my ideas on the 'hypothetical' Architeuthis egg mass size (I thought it might be ~ 2m) - it would have to be colossal. When initially released by the female it might be ~ 2m in diameter, but after some time, sponging up surrounding seawater, it could get to many metres across. Be cool to bump into a 10m egg mass wouldn't it!!! I dream.

So, stage 1 is to collect the samples and get the things on film (pretty much immediately); stage 2 to DNA them and undertake embryological examination to find out what on earth they belong to (pretty much immediately); stage 3, and this is the dream, to keep them live (Tintenfisch, hurry back from the US of A)... though a dream only (and some say pipe). We're going to try all 3 at once.
Cheers
O
 

Jean

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HI Steve,

What techniques do you use to extract and read DNA? I tried when I was in Hobart (admittedly I was trying to use adult mantle and arm tissue) with absolutely no success. We were using an alcohol based extraction tecnique then PCR amplification, the idea was then to do a RAPD analysis. No go!! They have since tried EPICS with no success. This was with both Nototodarus sloanii and N. gouldi there is a real problem getting the DNA out in the first place :( I'd be keen to hear how you do it!!

J :bonk:
 

Steve O'Shea

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Not sure about this one Jean .... I just take a fresh sample and send to my gel friends (I'm no DNA person, but use the info they give me); Peter Smith (NIWA) has done a fair bit of electrophoretic work on the Nototodarus , and he's the chap I use for the 16S and CO1 DNA sequences ... and he's had no problem with Nototodarus before; I've a report somewhere where he describes his techniques (electronic version), so I'll track that down and copy relevant sections/methodology to you via snail mail or private e- (coz it might bore 99.999% of people here ..... a category in which I myself fall). I like whole and live animals!!

It may just be how 'fresh' your tissues were; I'd have thought there was no problem with mantle or arm tissues.

Re the egg spheres, we've got most northeastern NZ divers and dive-charter operators on red alert right now - if a sample is to be got we'll sure get it in the next few days .... watch this space!
Cheers
O
 

Jean

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Hi Stve,

I'd appreciate that. I admit I prefer my animals alive and kicking too!!! I was only doing the genetics for completeness!!

J
 

Steve O'Shea

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Those eggs evaded us I'm afraid. We will get them on film one day, and when we do it will be that much more rewarding (there's nothing like a challenge).

I've not heard of any sightings subsequent to the initial ones. We might have to wait until December 2003 to get them, but at least we will be prepared!

Cheers
O
 

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