For the first time, baby giant squid have been caught and examined.
New research in the journal Marine Biodiversity Records details findings out of Japan's University of Hyogo about three young giant squid (Architeuthis dux).
The three animals were caught by fishermen off Japan's coastal waters (two were found dead in fishing nets in the southwestern Sea of Japan; the third was caught off the coast of Kyushu Island, in southern Japan) between April and June of 2013. They range in size from 14 to 33 centimeters (5.5 to 11.8 inches).
The baby squid are about the same size as non-giant adult squid. The researchers identified them as baby giants based on the length of their arms and distinctive characteristics about their suckers, according to Motherboard.
"This is the first time in the world that such young giant squid were found, and it has helped us understand what they are like this early in their life stage," study co-author Toshifumi Wada told The Wall Street Journal.
Giant squid can grow to more than 10 meters (33 feet). They live in the deepest of waters, and sightings of them are rare. Next to nothing, then, is known about their lives as newborns and juveniles.
Fortunately for the scientists, aquarium staff who'd been in possession of the animals contacted Wada for help identifying the unusual creatures, and he determined they were actually the first-ever babies to be caught, Motherboard reported.
via Motherboard, The Wall Street Journal