Giant Squid ... and now "Colossal" Squid

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Giant Squid ... and now "Colossal" Squid

Post#1 » Sat Jun 23, 2007 2:55 pm

This-a would-a make a whole lot-a calimari. Mama mia!!!



Wednesday, 2 April 2003, 15:13 GMT 16:13 UK

Super squid surfaces in Antarctic
By Kim Griggs
in Wellington

A colossal squid has been caught in Antarctic waters, the first example of Mesonychoteuthis hamiltoni retrieved virtually intact from the surface of the ocean.

"It really has to be one of the most frightening predators out there"
Dr Steve O'Shea

"All we knew prior to this specimen coming through was that this animal lived in the abyssal environment down in Antarctica," New Zealand squid expert and senior research fellow at Auckland University of Technology, Dr Steve O'Shea, told BBC News Online.

"Now we know that it is moving right through the water column, right up to the very surface and it grows to a spectacular size."

Mesonychoteuthis hamiltoni was first identified in 1925 after two arms were recovered from a sperm whale's stomach.

Lethal hooks

There have only ever been six specimens of this squid recovered: five have come from the stomachs of sperm whales and the sixth was caught in a trawl net at a depth of 2,000 to 2,200 metres.

Scientists admit they know little about the large squid

"It's been known since 1925, but no one really paid any attention to it," Dr O'Shea said.

"Now we can say that it attains a size larger than the giant squid. Giant squid is no longer the largest squid that's out there. We've got something that's even larger, and not just larger but an order of magnitude meaner."

This squid has one of the largest beaks known of any squid and also has unique swivelling hooks on the clubs at the ends of its tentacles.

Bigger still

This combination allows it to attack fish as large as the Patagonian toothfish and probably to also attempt to maul sperm whales.

'Colossal' squid has a powerful beak

"When this animal was alive, it really has to be one of the most frightening predators out there. It's without parallel in the oceans," said Dr O'Shea, whose work is sponsored by Discovery Channel.

The specimen, which was caught in the past few weeks in the Ross Sea, has a mantle length of 2.5 metres. That is a larger mantle than any giant squid that Dr O'Shea has seen and this specimen is still immature, the NZ scientist believes.

"It's only half to two-thirds grown, so it grows up to four metres in mantle length." By comparison, the mantle of the giant squid, Architeuthis dux, is not known to attain more than 2.25 metres.

Common name

The squid researchers are calling Mesonychoteuthis hamiltoni the "colossal squid".

The specimen is a sub-adult

"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," said Kat Bolstad, research associate at Auckland University of Technology.

"We feel that colossal conveys both the size and the aggressiveness of the animal.

"This 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."

Posts: 437

New Zealand octopus

Post#2 » Sat Jun 23, 2007 3:10 pm

Not a squid, but, a close cousin



Thursday, 28 March, 2002, 10:34 GMT
Giant octopus puzzles scientists

NZ National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research
Out of the freezer: Dismissed at first as just another giant squid

By Kim Griggs
in Wellington, New Zealand

What is thought to be the biggest octopus ever found has been caught in waters off New Zealand.

Marine biologist Dr Steve O'Shea estimates the specimen, which was damaged when fished up, would have measured four metres in length and weighed 75 kilograms.

"That's a conservative estimate," Dr O'Shea told BBC News Online. "It is an absolutely massive octopus."

The incomplete specimen has a mantle length (the standard measure of length in octopus and squid) of 0.69 metres, a total length of 2.9 metres and a weight of 61 kg.

Not a squid

Octopus (Haliphron) had previously been thought to reach a mantle length of only 0.4 metres and a total length of 2 metres.

Dr O'Shea does not think this animal is native to New Zealand waters

"Nothing remotely comparable to the size of the New Zealand specimen has ever been described before," Dr O'Shea said.

The octopus was caught last October in 920 metres of water south east of the Chatham Islands, by the research ship of New Zealand's National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA).

At first, Dr O'Shea paid little attention to the red gelatinous specimen, thinking it was just another example of his research specialty, the giant squid.

Freezer clear-out

"I have a freezer full of squid. And I looked at this and I just thought, 'Heavens, it's a pretty beat up sort of squid'. And I wasn't in any hurry to defrost it. Then I had a freezer clean-out and I had no idea what it was."

He has provisionally identified the sub-mature female as being Haliphron atlanticus. Adding to the mystery, this particular species has never been caught before in the South Pacific.

There are some records from around Japan, Papua-New Guinea and from the Atlantic. "The New Zealand form that we have is more similar to a species which was recorded off Japan in 1902 than it is to the Atlantic species.

"So although I call it Haliphron atlanticus, that's a very provisional identification."

Splendid sight

Dr O'Shea is also puzzled by the fact the New Zealand research institute has never seen juveniles of this species in New Zealand waters.

This is despite the fact that the area where the octopus was found is extensively trawled by commercial fishing vessels and unusual specimens are routinely passed to NIWA.

"I don't believe that this animal is residing in New Zealand at all. It could have been something that's migrated in from spectacular depth.

"Not only is it not residing in New Zealand waters, I don't believe we get the full life history of the species in New Zealand," he said.

The undamaged octopus would have been a splendid sight: all the arms would have been connected by a thick web.

"It would have looked like a huge jellyfish or a great big thick umbrella," Dr O'Shea said.

Pictures courtesy of the New Zealand National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research

Posts: 437

what the hell?

Post#3 » Sat Jun 23, 2007 3:14 pm

What the .... ?



Friday, 21 December, 2001, 13:19 GMT

'Mystery' squid delights scientists
The squid has been seen at several locations

A new and bizarre type of squid has been reported by marine biologists.

The cephalopod, which has spidery, seven-metre-long (20 feet) arms, is detailed in the journal Science.

The creature has been spotted in the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian Oceans, and in the Gulf of Mexico. One sighting was made at a depth of 4,734 metres (15,534 feet) - almost five kilometres (three miles) below the surface - in the western Atlantic, off the coast of Brazil.

The researchers behind the discovery say the find indicates how little we know about life in the Earth's largest ecosystem.

Independent sightings

The squid's arms are longer than those of any known squid species and held in an unusual position: spread outward from the body and then bent anteriorly.

A specimen must be caught for classification purposes

The scientists speculate that the squid may be an adult member of the recently identified family called Magnapinnidae (which means "big fin"). Only juvenile squids in this family have been seen before. More research will be required, however, before the animals can be properly classified.

"I call it a mystery squid,'' said Mike Vecchione, a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (Noaa) researcher and first author on the Science paper. "It's unlike any other squid I've ever seen.''

The assessment of the squid is based on photographs and video images taken by eight independent scientists from eight institutions in four countries.

'Spider's web'

"It is very distinctive with the very long skinny arms, with an elbow,'' said Vecchione. "There are 10 appendages there, but they all seem to be pretty much the same. In most squid, two would be tentacles.''

This image was taken in the Gulf of Mexico

The scientist said he could not estimate the weight or mass of the animal but observed: "It is not like a giant squid, which has a really massive body. This is a fairly small squid with bizarre arms that stretch on forever.''

He speculated that the squid might use its long arms "like a living spider web" to catch its prey. "I think it dangles those arms until small organisms bump into them,'' he said. "It is like a snare.''

He said in one recent encounter with a submersible, the squid seemed to have problems dislodging its arms from the vessel's hull.

Posts: 437

Rosie at the beach

Post#4 » Sat Jun 23, 2007 3:28 pm

Rosie O'Donnell just can't get a break, can she? Poor girl. Goes to the beach for some sun and fun and ......... Oh ....... sorry, my mistake.

Well, then what the heck is that thing?



Last Updated: Thursday, 3 July, 2003, 20:48 GMT 21:48 UK

Chilean blob could be octopus

The 12-metre (40 foot) wide remains of a sea creature found in Chile could be those of a giant octopus, the first washed up on land for over a century.

The remains measure 12 metres across

The 13-tonne specimen was at first taken for a beached whale when it came ashore a week ago, but experts who have seen it say it appears not to have a backbone.

"Apparently, it is a gigantic octopus or squid but that's just our initial idea, nothing definite," said Elsa Cabrera, a marine biologist and director of the Centre for Cetacean Conservation in the capital, Santiago.

"It has only one tentacle left. It could be a new species."

Ms Cabrera said samples from the creature's remains would be sent to France for analysis by specialist Michel Raynal, and to a university laboratory in southern Florida on Monday.

Just blubber?

The creature washed up one week ago on Los Muermos beach, 1,100 kilometres (680 miles) south of Santiago.

James Mead, a zoologist with the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, US, thinks the huge mass of slimy flesh is whale blubber.

"I don't have enough data to say it's an octopus or it's a whale, but I would hazard a bet that when it gets firmly identified, it'll be a whale."

Mr Mead said a whale could have died of old age, decayed and a big piece of it could have drifted to shore.

Richard Sabin, a marine biologist, cetacean specialist and curator at the Natural History Museum in London said he would be surprised if it was whale blubber after studying photographs of the find.

"Whale blubber has a very recognisable collagen matrix which gives it shape," he said.

"We're not going to know for sure on this specimen until someone gets a biological sample back to the laboratory."

Experts agree the bottom line rests with DNA analysis.

Recurring visitor?

European zoologists said it closely resembled descriptions of a bizarre specimen found in Florida in 1896 that was named Octopus giganteus which has confounded experts ever since.

Other alleged sightings of similar deep-sea creatures by fishermen and divers from the Bahamas to Tasmania are the stuff of folklore, as well as academic study.

The largest of the more than 100 officially recognised species of octopus can measure up to seven metres.

Information gathered about this case matches that gathered by 19th Century scientists who examined the creature found in 1896.

They described pulling at the 18-metre animal with a team of horses and hacking at it with an axe without making a dent.

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