Colossal Squid, Bigger than the Giant Squid. Largest Eyes in the Animal Kingdom

Colossal Squids (Mesonychoteuthis hamiltoni) are larger than the more well-known Giant Squid. The species was first discovered in 1925, realised from tentacles found in the stomach of a Sperm Whale. There have only been eight specimens of Colossal Squid recovered since their discovery.

Colossal Squid caught in 2007

Colossal Squid, 2007

A research associate at Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand reportedly said “We’d like to give this animal the name Colossal Squid in order to have a common name for it as opposed to just the scientific name,” This species is estimated to grow past 14 metres in length.

Colossal Squid size compared to Giant Squid and London Bus

Colossal Squid size compared to Giant Squid and London Bus

“We feel that Colossal conveys both the size and the aggressiveness of the animal. Armed as it is with the hooks and the beak that it has, not only is colossal in size but is going to be a phenomenal predator and something you are not going to want to meet in the water.”

In 2007 there were three separate discoveries of Colossal Squid specimens. One of the finds was by a New Zealand vessel long-lining for Toothfish in the Ross Sea, near the Antarctic. This gargantuan monster of the deep was eating a Hooked Toothfish when it was hauled.

Colossal Squid caught in 2007

Colossal Squid, 2007

The Colossal Squid was photographed, measured, tissue sampled, registered and preserved intact into the Natural Environment collection. On-going examination of the giant will help unlock some of the mysteries of the deep ocean.

Colossal Squid caught in 2003

Colossal Squid, 2003

“Even basic questions such as such as how large does this species grow to, and how long does it live for are not yet known.” said the New Zealand Fisheries Minister, Jim Anderton.

Interestingly, Colossal Squid are not related to Giant Squid (Architeuthis species) found around the coast of New Zealand. Giant Squid grow up to 12 metres, but are not as heavy. A key difference between the two species is the size of the body (called the Mantle) in relation to the tentacles. The Giant Squid has much longer tentacles and a smaller mantle, thereby accounting for its’ lighter weight.

Colossal Squid caught in 2007

Colossal Squid, 2007

Another difference is the sharp swivelling hooks the colossal squid has in the suckers at the tips of its tentacles, suggesting it is an aggressive hunter. The giant squid has suckers lined with small teeth.

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4 Comments

  1. Posted April 23, 2008 at 05:31 | Permalink

    Te Papa is going to be thawing and examining the Colossal squid on Wednesday 30 April. We’re filming the thawing and autopsy and will have the video streamed on our website. We’ll be defrosting it from Sunday – it’ll take a good few days. Check it out.

  2. Posted April 24, 2008 at 17:34 | Permalink

    Great – thanks for the head up. Sounds like a video definitely worth a look. Already had a look at http://www.tepapa.govt.nz – really interesting stuff.

  3. Posted February 6, 2011 at 19:08 | Permalink

    amazing creatures!

  4. Jahn
    Posted February 6, 2011 at 23:20 | Permalink

    RELEASE THE COLOSSAL SQUID!

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