The mystery behind the ‘Laughing Squid’ on TV – but where does it come from?
Posted On June 5, 2021
The Laughing Squid, as it’s known, was first described in the 1940s by Australian comedian David Attenborough.
But it’s only now that scientists have begun to understand its origins.
The Laughing Sponge is a member of a group of microscopic creatures called the cephalopods, which are mostly found on land and are believed to be the ancestors of all cepheids.
Its tiny head and tiny, red body is covered in sponges and is able to breathe through a thick membrane.
Scientists believe it is an adaptation of a cephyllid that was used to help them survive on land.
The tongue and mouth are covered in a sticky substance called mucus.
It was first isolated from a dead whale in 2011.
“It was so well camouflaged that it could actually be seen through the whale’s shell,” Professor Nick McGovern from the Queensland Museum told ABC Radio Brisbane.
“[It was] like a squid that had gone out of its skin.”
He said the sponge’s distinctive markings, which include white dots and lines running down its back, helped scientists to identify it as belonging to a new species.
Dr McGovern said the tongue and the mouth also have a “lack of a true mouth”.
“That’s why they’ve called it the Laughing Snail,” he said.
In a statement, the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service said it was “disappointed to hear of the recent discovery of the Laughings Squid in the Australian Great Barrier Reef”.
The Queensland Museum said it would be a “disappointment” to hear about the new species, but said it had been “looking for the Laughers since before they were discovered”.
Scientists are now continuing to investigate what makes the Laughington’s tongue and teeth different from the cephhalopod cousins.
Professor McGovern is now using DNA analysis to determine whether it’s the Laughning Squid’s ability to breathe air or the “linking” between the two species.
“If the cesium is the trigger, it may be a new organism, a new group of animals,” he told ABC News Breakfast.
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