The monstrous eyes of the colossal squid afford scientists a rare research opportunity
By Matt RansfordPosted 05.01.2008 at 1:16 pm 0 Comments
Researchers in New Zealand have had the rare opportunity to study the world's largest eyes, those from a remarkably well-preserved specimen of a colossal squid. (Lest you think this is hyperbole in reporting: no, in fact, the colossal squid is indeed a different and larger species than the giant squid.) The eyes are the size of soccer balls—the pupils alone measure three inches across—and could very well be the largest ocular organs to have ever existed in the animal kingdom.
By Gregory MonePosted 07.12.2007 at 6:24 pm 0 Comments
This must have been a strange surprise. Late yesterday, an Australian who went for a walk on a remote beach on the western coast of Tasmania came across one of the largest giant squid ever found lying in the sand. Scientists rushed to the site to start examining the rare creature, which, thanks to dramatic reports from fishermen and books like Peter Bentley's Beast, has long had a kind of mythical quality. Scientists believe that these giant squid can grow to 33 feet long. They live primarily in deep waters, as far down as 2,300 feet below the surface, which explains the scarcity of sightings, and the reason for all the excitement over yesterday's find. The total length of the beached squid could not be determined because its tentacles had been damaged, but one of the scientists on hand called it, "a whopper."—Gregory Mone
Its hard to believe that something as monumentally huge as the giant squid—huge in both sheer physical size and its presence in the imagination of folklorists throughout history—has been so difficult for scientists to study for so long.
But lately scientists seem to be making some headway in the observation of their longtime foe, Architeuthis dux. Last September, Japanese researchers became the first ever to document a giant squid in the wild when their baited camera rig attracted the attention of a gigantic specimen at a depth of 900 meters.
This week the London Natural History Museum will begin displaying one of the largest and most well-preserved A. dux specimens collected to date. Although a few of its brethren have been found in the stomachs of sperm whales or washed ashore, this particular giant squid, nicknamed Archie by the museums staff, was snagged in the nets of a fishermans trawler off the Falkland Islands. Archie, who measures 28 feet in length, will be held in a custom-built 30-foot tank [pictured]. —John Mahoney