February 1, 2010
4. Taningia danae (Dana Octopus Squid)
T. danae is the sole species of the genus Taningia, and it is one of the largest known species of squid. It can attain a mantle length of 1.7 meters (5.58 ft) and weigh up to 61.4 kg (over 135 lb). (The specimen pictured above has ML of just over 1 meter.)
Apart from its impressive size, Taningia has many distinctive characteristics. The common name “Octopus Squid” (which also applies to the other species in the family Octopoteuthidae) reflects that adults only have eight arms, having lost their two tentacles during development. Two of these arms are tipped with large photophores. These light-emitting organs have muscular lids, giving the squid the ability to produce intense flashes of light when it attacks its prey. T. danae also has exceptionally large, muscular fins, which are fused on the dorsal midline and are nearly the length of the mantle.
In 2005, live footage (including the video below) of the the Dana Octopus Squid was shot by Japanese researchers at depths of 240-940 meters off the Ogasawara Islands in the North Pacific.
Additionally, here is another video that shows a squid that looks very much like Taningia danae that has attached itself to a light on a deep sea oil rig.