5 Squid You’ll Only See in the Deep Sea

Thousands of fathoms beneath the ocean waves, there are creatures that are stranger than fiction. You could even say that many of these creatures have inspired fiction. However, among deep sea denizens, squid are in a league of their own. From fascinating to frightening, deep sea squid are a bizarre bunch. Let’s plunge into the abyss and take a look at 5 incredible squids that you’ll only see in the deep sea.

5. Whiplash Squid

Whiplash squid (Magnoteuthis magna)

With their powder blue eyes and deep red bodies, whiplash squid are a bit eerie looking. This species here is known as Magnoteuthis magna and was filmed at a depth of over 1,000 meters (3,280 feet)! These squid tend to hover over the seafloor with their head down and their tentacles spread apart like a tuning fork, ready to snatch unsuspecting prey. You might think their red coloration would make them stand out, but in the deep ocean, red light is not visible, so these squid might as well be painted black. Because of this, many deep sea animals are either red or black.

4. Twisted Squid

A “twisted squid”.

This squid has a huge question mark next to it’s name because, to this day, it is unidentified. This so-called “twisted squid” was observed contorting itself in the Gulf of Mexico at a depth of 850 meters (2,788 feet). Even squid expert Michael Vecchione was stumped. The best guess he had was Discoteuthis discus, but that species had never been observed alive, so he didn’t even know if this behavior was common to that species. Perhaps, with more deep sea exploration, we will someday learn more about this strange squid.

3. Glass Squid

A glass squid filmed in Alaska.

This little guy is called a glass squid, which are also known as cockatoo squid. You can clearly see why. There are about 60 species of glass squid, but not all of them are tiny babies like this one. Some can grow over 10 meters and weigh over 500 kilograms!

Colossal squid caught near Antarctica in 2007. New Zealand Ministry of Fisheries.

The colossal squid, which is the largest of all squids, is a member of the glass squid family, and it’s a deep sea demon with freakin hooks on its tentacles. I mean, look at this horror. This thing is a legit sea monster. If a colossal squid and a giant squid went tentacle to tentacle, well, we already know who is most likely to win. Speaking of giant squids…

2. Giant Squid

Illustration of the giant squid that was beached alive in Catalina, Trinity Bay, Newfoundland, on 24 September 1877.

The giant squid is the OP squid. Yes, the colossal squid is bigger, but the colossal squid is only found in the far south of the Southern Hemisphere. Meanwhile, the giant squid is found in all the world’s oceans and likely inspired tales of the Kraken, a giant, legendary cephalopod with a prejudice against wooden ships.

The giant squid has inspired all sorts of legends and sea stories.

Thankfully, giant squid don’t seem to care about ships, and accounts of giant squid “attacks” on boats are nothing but fish stories. That’s because any giant squid at or near the surface is either dead or dying. However, it’s a different story in their natural habitat.

Giant squid filmed in the Gulf of Mexico in 2019.

Take a look at this one filmed in 2019 in the Gulf of Mexico. I’m not gonna lie, this footage makes me shudder a bit because it revealed that giant squid are active predators that primarily hunt by sight. Can you imagine being alone in the deep sea, and then, suddenly, a huge pair of tentacles grabs you. NOPE!

1. Bigfin Squid

The bigfin squid (Magnapinna sp.)

Okay, after that last squid, let’s just chill out and take a look at the last squid on the list: the bigfin squid. This squid is an internet favorite, and you can see why. Its preposterous proportions can inspire feelings of wonder or fear. They are not quite as big as colossal or giant squid, but they are still huge and can grow up to 8 meters (26 feet) or more.

What’s even crazier about this squid, aside from being big, is that it is believed to be the deepest-occurring squid genus, having been found at depths over 6,200 meters (20,341 feet)! That’s nearly 4 miles!!! So, not only is it huge and weird-looking, but it’s also the deepest of all the deep sea squids. Truly, you will not see this squid anywhere but the deep sea.

Just in case you hadn’t already guessed, I did not film any of these captivating cephalopods. These squid are way beyond my reach (and my budget). Instead, I plunged into the NOAA Ocean Exploration archives and compiled these clips for you, courtesy of the dedicated crew aboard the Okeanos Explorer. If you like deep sea creatures, definitely check out their YouTube channel. Oh, and if you liked this article, please give a like, leave a comment down below, and follow Tidewater Teddy! Thanks, and have a great day!

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