Magnapinna -- An Alien-like Squid With "Elbows"

Clipped from: Magnapinna

Magnapinna Vecchione and Young, 1998

Bigfin squid

Brief diagnosis:

One of the chiroteuthid families with ...

  • narrow, very elongate (vermiform) distal-arms and distal-tentacles.
  • very large fins.
  • an oval funnel locking-apparatus

The arms and tentacles typically are held in an unusual position: They extend at sharp angles to the body axis then abruptly (sometimes at a 90° angle) turn anteriorly. The "elbow" is, roughly, two thirds of the length of the mantle away from the body axis. This arm posture recalls the way in which the tentacles of Mastigoteuthis spp. are held apart although with the aid of the ventral arms. Rough estimates from videos indicate total lengths up to 7 m (Vecchione, et al, 2001). Arms and tentacles are approximately equal in thickness and length. The tentacles are usually not easily recognizable in videos; the arms and tentacles, therefore, appear as 10 equal appendages. Length of the arms/tentacles of the squid pictured below are about 10 times the ML although they are highly contractile.

Clipped from: Alien-like Squid With "Elbows" Filmed at Drilling Site

National Geographic

Alien-like Squid With "Elbows" Filmed at Drilling Site

A mile and a half (two and a half kilometers) underwater, a remote control submersible's camera has captured an eerie surprise: an alien-like, long-armed, and—strangest of all—"elbowed" Magnapinna squid.

Clipped from: YouTube - Alien-like Squid With "Elbows" Filmed at Drilling Site

Clipped from: Alien-like Squid With "Elbows" Filmed at Drilling Site

"The most peculiar structure is that of the arms," said deep-sea biologist Bruce Robison of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute in California.

Referring to the way the tentacles hang down from elbow-like kinks, Robison said: "Judging from that structure, we think the animal feeds by dragging its arms and the ends of its tentacles along the seafloor as it drifts slowly above it."

The elbow-like angles allow the tentacles to spread out, perhaps preventing them from getting tangled.

"Imagine spreading the fingers of a hand and dragging the fingertips along the top of a table to grab bits of food," he added.

Alien-like Squid With "Elbows" Filmed at Drilling Site
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