Fishermen in Datu Blah Sinsuat , Maguindanao, caught what looks to be a giant cuttlefish last Sunday, May 7.
Facebook user Lhei Maningula shared photos of the freshly-caught creature, which she said weighed 8.5 kilos.
Marine biologist Jose Christopher Mendoza told GMA News Online that it is likely a Sepia pharaonis cuttlefish, judging from its size and color in the photographs.
Mendoza said that cuttlefish live in shallow waters and that their presence points to a thriving ecosystem.
"I'm happy that (they found it) there. It's a good indicator of reef health," he said.
"Sepia are shallow water reef cephalopods. (On the other hand) squid that big tend to be found in deep ocean water," Mendoza explained.
Squid and cuttlefish both belong to the cephalopod class of marine animals, which also inlcudes octopuses.
Cuttlefish have more rigid bodies than their squid and octopus cousins because of an internal shell called the cuttlebone.
According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Sepia pharaonis has a very wide geographic distribution and has been found as far as Yemen, Hong Kong, and Thailand.
It has yet to be determined if the species is threatened or in danger of extinction.
A report on GMA News TV's Unang Balita said that the specimen caught off Maguindanao was brought to the nearby town of Lebak, Sultan Kudarat, where it was quickly snapped up by local fishmongers at a price of P100 per kilo. — GMA News
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