Deep-Sea Squids' Tentacle Tips Swim on Their Own

Posted: September 5, 2013  |  By: Danielle Elliot [CBS News]

Like something straight out of a sci-fi film, scientists have discovered that the tips of a deep-sea squid's tentacles 'swim' on their own. The tips, called clubs, sit at the end of long feeding tentacles.

Most squids use their feeding tentacles to capture prey. But the Grimalditeuthis bonplandi squid has long, thin, fragile tentacles that are not strong enough for the job. The weak tentacles lack usual tools like suckers, hooks and glowing spots. And so, the tips of their tentacles adapted to seemingly swim on their own.

"In short, all of the motions and activities of these squids appear to be directed toward giving the impression that their clubs are small, swimming animals, independent from the rest of the squids' bodies," the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) scientists wrote in a press release.

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