giant squid

The giant squid is the largest invertebrate, or animal without a backbone, ever to have lived on Earth! It can grow up to 60 feet long, so it's hard to believe that a giant squid has never been seen alive until 2006. For centuries, scientists have had to piece together facts about the giant squid from parts that washed ashore or were pulled in by fishing nets. This mysterious creature is a relative of snails.

giant squid
Scientific name: Architeuthis dux
Size: up to 60 feet long
Weight: up to 1,000 pounds
Habitat: deep sea
Diet: fish and smaller squid
Predators: sperm whale
Characteristics: eight arms lined with suckers and two longer feeding tentacles with suckers on the end
Significance: the largest invertebrate on Earth

Image credits: main image, Eric Hamilton.