bigfin squid (magnapinna pacifica)
The bigfin squids are a group of rarely seen cephalopods with a very distinctive morphology. The family is known only from larval, paralarval, and juvenile specimens, but some authorities believe the adult creature has been seen: Several videos have been taken of animals nicknamed the "long-arm squid", which appear to have a similar morphology. Of particular interest was the very large fin size, up to 90% of the mantle length, that was responsible for the animals' nickname. On November 11, 2007, a new video of a long-arm squid was filmed off Perdido, a drilling site owned by Shell Oil Company, located 200 statute miles off Houston, Texas in the Gulf of Mexico. The specimens in the videos looked very distinct from all previously known squids. The arms and tentacles were of the same length and looked identical. The appendages were also held perpendicular to the body, creating the appearance of strange "elbows". Most remarkable was the length of the elastic tentacles, which has been estimated at stretching up to 15-20 times the mantle length. On close ups of the body and head, it is also apparent that the fins are extremely large, nearly as big as the bigfin squid larvae. While they do appear similar to the larvae, no specimens or samples of the adults have been taken, leaving their exact identity unknown.