PHOTO: Rare squid with creepy ‘elbow’ tentacles confuses scientists

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By RADIO.COM

Nature can be fascinating, yet it can also be awfully eerie.

Scientists have discovered a rare squid with "elbow" tentacles in frightening new footage.

According to Live Science, these researchers describe this ocean creature as alien-like with an enormous head and long spaghetti legs.

Despite its obscure appearance, the cephalopod known as the Bigfin squid (Magnapinnidae) is more common in the deep ocean.

More than 110 years ago, the squid was discovered. However, the creature has only been spotted in the wild 12 times around the world.

In a study published in the journal PLOS ONE, researchers said they experienced five new sightings and captured them thousands of feet below the Great Australian Bight's surface in South Australia. While this is the first time that the Bigfin squid has been seen in Australian waters, it is also the first time five of them have been seen hanging out together.

Deborah Osterhage, a marine researcher and the study's lead author, said the new footage shows the cephalopod's bizarre anatomy and behavior.

"I was stunned and excited when I first saw the Bigfin squid in a photo collected by our camera," Osterhage said. "I recognized it immediately, with its distinctive large fins and extremely long and slender arms and tentacles."

In 1907, scientists identified the first Bigfin squid, which was caught by fishermen near Portugal. Research shows that it took more than 80 years before anyone actually saw one, swimming 15,535 feet underwater off Brazil's coast in 1988.

The quid's giant fins stick out of its body making it look like Dumbo the elephant's ears. The fins are as wide as the squid's upper body, and they move through the water by flapping them like wings, said Osterhage.

"We were able to measure [one specimen] with lasers — a first, as previous measurements are estimates based on nearby objects," Osterhage added. "It measured 5.9 feet (1.8 m) in length. The specimen's mantle was around 6 inches (15 centimeters), with the remaining 5.9 feet [1.8 m] made up of those long arms and tentacles."

The lead study author shared that there is still so much to learn about these creatures, including what it feeds upon, how it reproduces, are still unknown.

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