Spectacular new Butterfly Bobtail Squid
Named to honour Professor Merlin Crossley
Sydney, 5 August, 2021: A new species of ‘butterfly bobtail’ squid, Iridoteuthis merlini, has been discovered by Dr Mandy Reid, Manager of the Malacology collection, Australian Museum Research Institute. Named in honour of longstanding Australian Museum affiliate and UNSW Sydney Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic), Professor Merlin Crossley, the research was published in the journal Zootaxa on Wednesday 28 July.
Belonging to the genus Iridoteuthis, the author of the research, Dr Reid discovered the new species, now called Iridoteuthis merlini (as well as a second new species, Iridoteuthis lophia) among the collections of the Museum of New Zealand, Te Papa Tongarewa and the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research, Wellington.
Iridoteuthis merlini was found when studying some Stoloteuthis maoria type specimens that were described in New Zealand in 1959 (‘types’ are those used to define a species when they are first named). She found that the type specimens were muddled, and actually comprised not only two species, but also represented two different genera: Iridoteuthis and Stoloteuthis.
The important ‘type specimens’ included two males and two female squids. “The males are the ‘real’ Stoloteuthis maoria, and the females belonged to an undescribed species, last week formally described and named Iridoteuthis merlini,” Reid said.