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The freaky world of squids

Vampire squids

Beware of the blob

Heads up

Calamari dentata

Three words: Japanese. Flying. Squid.

Almost human

You're creeping us out, dude

Now that's an eyeball

Light-up parasites

Baby giant squids

Giant squids have very big children


Razor tongues and tentacles

If that isn't hurty enough...

Fish tale

Red devil

Chew with your...tentacles?

Under-ocean armor

Cannibal squids

And one cute one

Sure, the tiny ones are delicious. But there are other ones. Bigger ones...with very creepy facts attached to them. There's a reason why stories of squids have haunted sailors' dreams for generations.

Caption by / Photo by Library of Congress

Vampire squids (such as this one photographed by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute) are cephalopods that technically fall somewhere between octopi and squids but belong to their own class, Vampyromorphida. They don't feed on blood, but they do have the vaguely disturbing habit of turning themselves inside out if threatened.

Caption by / Photo by (c) 2004 MBARI

If it's really stressed out, the vampire squid will fire a sticky blob of glowing mucus at an enemy...for up to 10 minutes.

Caption by / Photo by MBARI

As a predator, the Humboldt squid can grab prey with a speed that observers have likened to lasers. They've also attacked the cameras and lights, and even the diving masks of humans trying to observe them.

Caption by / Photo by MBARI

Colossal squids, such as this one found in the Antarctic, also have wicked-looking suckers, along with arm hooks set in a double row in the middle of each arm.

Caption by / Photo by Marty Melville/AFP/Getty Images

Like we could make this up.

Yes, there are squids that can fly, and not just for a few feet at a time, either. Think 30 meters at a time, using membranes similar to that of a flying squirrel. A very tentacled, very muscular, very wet flying squirrel.

This specimen was photographed flying about 100 nautical miles north of a remote group of volcanic islands in the South Atlantic Ocean.

Caption by / Photo by Corbis

The eyes of the squid have evolved in pretty much the same way that human eyes have. But...

Caption by / Photo by Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

...the eyes of larger squids can be the size of dinner plates. These eyes came from a giant Humboldt squid caught in the Sea of Cortez.

Caption by / Photo by Corbis

Here's another shot of that squid eye, in case you needed an even closer view.

Caption by / Photo by Corbis

This cute little Hawaiian bobtail squid can light up, but only because of a colony of parasites living inside of it.

The parasite, a bacteria called Vibrio fischeri, is fed a sugary solution by the squid. In turn, the light-up parasite acts almost like a camouflage, hiding a backlit squid from predators when viewed from below.

Caption by / Photo by Corbis

Let's ease you into giant squids by first showing you what they look like when they're young and (relatively?) cute. These young giant squids, about 5.5 inches each, were caught in the waters near the Japanese city of Hamada in 2013.

You're looking at two of the first three baby giant squid ever caught.

Caption by / Photo by Toshifumi Wada

To put things into perspective: The three baby squids, including the one shown here, are about the same size as non-giant adult squids. Those are some big babies.

Caption by / Photo by Morihiko Yamada

Giant squids live in a sea so deep that it's not even clear what else is down there. What we do know is this: They can grow up to 40 feet. The only predators big enough to eat the adults are sperm and pilot whales.

Not even a deep-sea shark is brave enough to take on a full-grown giant squid.

Caption by / Photo by STF/AFP/Getty Images

That headline up there? Not a hyperbole. Giant squids essentially shred their prey before the unlucky victims even reach the esophagus. How? Two tentacles grip a deep-sea fish, pulling it toward the squid's beak.

Caption by / Photo by Fernando Camino/Cover/Getty Images

Within that beak: a tongue with teeth on it. The file-like teeth make short work of the fish. And if that doesn't hurt, the serrated edge of each sucker on every tentacle sure will.

Caption by / Photo by Corbis

True story: Tom Mattusch, a Californian boat captain, once recounted a disturbing squid encounter to author Wendy Williams.

"He once caught two squid on one lure," she later recalled. "Apparently squid number one got hooked and squid number two took advantage by trying to eat the first animal ...

Caption by / Photo by Corbis

"When Mattusch pulled them up, he thought at first he'd caught some kind of weird genetic monster with many more than 10 arms and tentacles. Then he realized the truth: Two in One."

The species of squid? Humboldt, like this one photographed by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute.

Caption by / Photo by MBARI

The Humboldt squid is also known as the red devil, or the wolf of the ocean. It is so deadly that even its suckers are covered in sharp teeth.

Caption by / Photo by Corbis

One filmmaker, Scott Cassell, has even created his own homemade fiberglass body armor to protect himself from Humboldt squids when he dives.

Caption by / Photo by Roslan Rahman/AFP/Getty Images

Fun fact: Most squid species are cannibalistic. They eat each other. One exception: The bigfin reef squid, which, according to marine biologists, only rarely eat each other.

Caption by / Photo by Corbis

To be fair, not every squid has a creepy fact attached to it. This is the striped pyjama squid of Australia. Adorably, it's also called the dumpling squid, and...

Oh. Never mind. This squid is also, apparently, one of the roughly three cephalopods known to be poisonous.

Caption by / Photo by Corbis
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