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The inside surfaces of the arms and tentacles are lined with hundreds of subspherical suction cups, 2 to 5 cm (0.79 to 1.97 in) in diameter, each mounted on a stalk.
Each tentacular club is divided into three regions – the carpus ("wrist"), manus ("hand") and dactylus ("finger").
The carpus has a dense cluster of cups, in six or seven irregular, transverse rows.
The manus is broader, closer to the end of the club, and has enlarged suckers in two medial rows. The bases of all the arms and tentacles are arranged in a circle surrounding the animal's single, parrot-like beak, as in other cephalopods.
The number of different giant squid species has been debated, but recent genetic research suggests that only one species exists.
Like all squid, a giant squid has a mantle (torso), eight arms, and two longer tentacles (the longest known tentacles of any cephalopod).
The arms and tentacles account for much of the squid's great length, making it much lighter than its chief predator, the sperm whale.Scientifically documented specimens have masses of hundreds, rather than thousands, of kilograms.The giant squid (genus Architeuthis) is a deep-ocean dwelling squid in the family Architeuthidae.Giant squid can grow to a tremendous size due to deep-sea gigantism: recent estimates put the maximum size at 13 m (43 ft) for females and 10 m (33 ft) for males from the posterior fins to the tip of the two long tentacles (second only to the colossal squid at an estimated 14 m (46 ft), one of the largest living organisms).The mantle is about 2 m (6.6 ft) long (more for females, less for males), and the length of the squid excluding its tentacles (but including head and arms) rarely exceeds 5 m (16 ft).Claims of specimens measuring 20 m (66 ft) or more have not been scientifically documented.