While there is a great deal known about adult giant squid, nothing is known about giant squid babies.
A Japanese marine bioligist, Toshifumi Wada, recorded the world’s first known giant squid babies in Japan after an aquarium sent him a few odd-looking squid specimens. The babies caught by a fisherman off the coast of southern Japan measure from 5 inches to 13 inches.
Giant squid are the world’s largest invertebrates, where the maximum size for females is up to 43 feet and the maximum size for males is up to 33 feet.
These findings, which occurred in April 2013, weren’t released to the public until Wada’s paper was published this week, detailing the importance of this find.
Adult giant squid are notoriously difficult creatures to capture for study and even observe in the wild, for that matter, so only information about their feeding and behavior patterns are known.
There is, however, nothing known about giant squid babies as none had ever been seen or studied in a lab before, until now. They are recognizable as giant squid only by the number of sucker pads on their tentacles, and the length of those tentacles.
The fact that giant squid babies resemble other squid species as babies leaves Wada wondering how many have been tossed aside by fishermen over the years, deemed unwanted squid in other catches.
“It’s likely they get chucked overboard, or perhaps eaten by fishermen, as they won’t necessarily realize that what they caught is a giant baby squid,” he says.
Wade hopes that more media attention is spread about this catch simply to make fishermen aware of what giant squid babies look like, so more can be found for study in order to help shed some light on a mysterious species.