Researchers from the Institute of Natural and Environmental Sciences at the University of Hyogo revealed that, for the time time in the world, they have discovered giant squid babies off the coasts of Japan.
Giant squid are rarely seen alive in their natural habitat, and their mystery and size make them ideal subjects for monster movies. These sea creatures can grow over 33 feet (10 meters), making them the world's largest invertebrate. While we won't go so far as to say these babies are cute, the discovery will help researchers understand more about what the species is like at a young age.
Adult giant squid are known to be loners, but a fisherman caught three giant squid babies off the coast of Shimane prefecture back in 2013. Unfortunately, two of the babies were found dead, but the fisherman also caught a live one and consulted with a local aquarium.
Staff from the aquarium sent a picture of the strange-looking sea creature to marine biologist and cephalopod expert at the Institute of Natural and Environmental Sciences Toshifumi Wada, who requested the specimens be frozen and shipped to his lab.
Wada was then able to confirm the specimens were in fact the first giant squid babies to ever be recorded, detailing his findings in a paper published in the journal of Marine Biodiversity Records this week.
The giant squid babies, or more properly known as Architeuthis dux, varied in size from 14 to 33 centimeters (5.5 to 13 inches) and weighed in at less than a pound. Since giant squid babies are around the same size as regular adult squid, Wada was able to identify them as young Architeuthis dux since they have longer arms and a different arrangement of their sucker pads located on their tentacles than the older squid. Wada was then able to confirm his finding by genetic analysis.
The young squid are planned to be displayed in the Museum of Nature and Human Activities in Hyogo, Japan.