Giant Squid (Architeuthis)

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Anonymous

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Calamari anyone? :D
(think it's probably the same one Stella. NZ are famous for having their finger on the pulse several days after the rest of the world)...
 
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Anonymous

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As giant squid seem to be a bit of a theme at the moment, here's an article on a scientist who reckons he can grow them in captivity from the larval stage.
How cool!

Seeking the Giant Squid
By Maryalice Yakutchik



Auckland, New Zealand — Inky tabloid snapshots notwithstanding, no one has seen a live adult giant squid and returned to tell about it, according to Steve O'Shea. But if the New Zealand zoologist has his way, that's about to change. O'Shea thinks he'll soon be eyeball-to-soccer-ball-sized eyeball with this secretive creature, observing and documenting its mysterious behaviors.

A senior research fellow in the institute of earth and oceanic sciences at Auckland University of Technology, O'Shea has been working for four years to master the techniques of keeping giant squid alive, from the delicate larval stage throughout the life cycle. He is also determined to film an adult giant squid in its own environment.

Wherever that may be.

"Lots of people have spent lots of money looking in the wrong place at the wrong time and wrong depth," O'Shea says.

O'Shea thinks he knows the right place, right time and right depth. He's mounting two expeditions in 2004 in the southern Pacific Ocean off New Zealand. The first trip (in February) will be to collect juvenile giant squid; the second (in July) will be to find and film the adult.

To lure an adult to within camera range — perhaps 1,650 feet (500 meters) below the sea surface — O'Shea will be armed with a special chum unlike anything that has been used before. The secret ingredient: a female pheromone mix. "We'll grind it all up and drive the male (giant squid) mad," he promises. "And draw it into our camera."

"We don't believe it's darting around in the water column. We believe it's oriented on a 45-degree angle, drifting, with two tentacles held together for their entire 5-meter (16.5-foot) length with two expanded tentacle clubs, opening and closing like tweezers, seeking prey. The tentacles are not muscular. They can't draw (prey) back to the beak. The animal has to dart forward and restrain the prey held in the tentacles with its arms."

O'Shea has studied more than 100 adult giant squid specimens, all of which were inadvertently caught by commercial fisheries in deep-sea trawl nets. "Giant squid are smaller than most people believe," he says. The biggest was a 37-foot-long (11 meter) female weighing 605 pounds (275 kilograms). Males are generally smaller; the largest he's studied was 30 feet long (9 meters) and weighed 330 pounds (150 kilograms).

O'Shea also has studied the beaks of giant squid, which often turn up in the stomach contents of sperm whales.

Despite admitting that "we don't know the first thing about this animal, how it behaves," O'Shea is confident about a few particulars. For instance: When he takes tissue samples from near the fins of giant squid he's noticed lots of ions that control buoyancy, their density progressively decreasing down to the tentacles. This leads him to believe that the only way the animal can sit in the water column is at an oblique angle.

During O'Shea's first expedition next year, he'll be looking for the giant squid larvae that aggregate to feed on plankton just below the ocean surface. Using a hard wire ring affixed with a material similar to pantyhose, he'll set out to collect the juveniles, which are less than a half-inch long (a maximum of 10 millimeters).

"The objective is not to collect hundreds of dead larvae, but one or two in excellent condition, not stressed by the net," O'Shea explains.

The juveniles, almost entirely transparent, go opaque when they die. In O'Shea's experience, this occurs almost instantaneously when they are put into rectangular tanks. He plans to house them in cylindrical tanks with special lighting.

"Previously, no one's been able to keep the larvae of oceanic pelagic squid alive for more than 13 days," he says after years of trial and error. "We did it 75 days, and then we released them." Next year, he'll try to keep a squid alive indefinitely to watch it grow to an adult.

The juveniles are incredibly sensitive to their environment, he explains, but are "quite robust little animals" when all the many particulars are taken care of. For instance, captured ones require a marked contrast between tank wall and floor, as well as a special current which allows them to hover in the water column.

The boat for the February expedition, where he hopes to catch and keep alive juvenile giant squid, will have to be its own ecosystem, says O'Shea. "This is the only way, I believe, that we can ensure we can produce sufficient numbers of prey for the baby squid. Earlier we depended on catching sufficient appropriate-sized prey for the squid larvae whilst at sea; for this next expedition, we will take with us fully operational cultures of algae, enriched brine and mysid shrimp, and fish egg and larval cultures: the algae to feed the brine/mysid cultures; the brine/mysid to feed the fish larvae; and the fish larvae to feed the squid. We will also play with lighting a little more than we have had the opportunity to do so to date. I absolutely believe we can keep them alive indefinitely."

The current projects, O'Shea says, only scratch the surface when it comes to researching the deep-sea creatures classified as squids. Someday, in the not-so-distant future, he plans to apply what he learns from the giant squid in order to study even bigger and more elusive squid species. There are mysterious animals out there, he says, with hooks on their arms, glowing lights on their eyes, and enormous beaks that can cut through cable.

"There are creatures," O'Shea says, "that make the giant squid look like real puppies."

From the Discovery Channel.

Do we love this guy, or what?
:D
 
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Anonymous

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Yes it is the same one, but I went searching for an article.

When I said two, I mean't the Falklands one reported earlier this week.
Sorry to confuse anyone.
 

Mighty_Emperor

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These appear to be the plans they have for the Giant Squid:

Giant Squid To Go On Show

28/08/2004 10:02 AM
NewstalkZB

A giant squid washed up at Farewell Spit is the largest specimen ever discovered.

Auckland researcher Dr Steve O'Shea has identified the creature from the deep, which is now at a storage facility in Auckland.

The 300-kilogram squid will be kept deep-frozen until October when there will be work to preserve it and eventually put it on show.

Dr O'Shea says the find is important in understanding the little-known species, which is threatened through over-fishing of coastal waters.
http://xtramsn.co.nz/news/0,,3762-3644914,00.html

and from what Steve O'Shea says at TONMO it is one of the largest ever found - coming in at a possible original length of 14-15m (the 300 kg quote is a press exagertaion - its closer to 250 kg):

http://www.tonmo.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?p=31988#31988
 

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Seismic surveys may kill giant squid

16:58 22 September 04

NewScientist.com news service


One of the oceans’ most mysterious animals, the giant squid, may be being killed by human noises. Unusually high numbers of dead giant squid, washed up on Spanish shores, have led scientists to believe that loud, low-frequency sounds made by oil companies charting the sea bed are killing the creatures.

Fear of damage to marine mammals has resulted in restrictions on low-frequency marine noise in the US, and awareness of the issue in Europe is growing. NATO exercises with high-intensity sonar in 2002 were charged with harming beaked whales in the Canary Islands. Norway rejected demands by environmentalists to limit seismic surveys off the Lofoten Islands in 2003.

Now the giant squid has joined the list of potential victims. The animals grow up to 20 metres in length and are found in deep, cold waters worldwide. Little more is known about them as efforts to observe them in their native habitat have failed, and scientists recorded only dead, stranded specimens.

Normally, only one giant squid per year is found along the coast of Spain, says Angel Guerra of the Institute for Marine Investigations in Vigo, Spain.


Oil and gas

But in the autumn of 2001, five were found stranded ashore or floating dead at sea, along Spain’s northern coast on the Bay of Biscay. In 2003, another four were found.

On both occasions, Guerra told New Scientist, geologists were conducting offshore seismic surveys nearby for oil and gas that same week, firing 200 decibel pulses of sound below 100 Hertz from an array of 10 air guns. The reflections of such pulses by different geological strata can reveal the structure and potential mineral composition of the seabed.

The nine dead giants included immature and maturing females, and two males - the first ever found in Spain. They were up to 12 metres long, with weights up to 140 kilograms. None had signs of surface damage but all had internal injuries.

In two squid the damage was extensive, with stomachs and hearts ripped open and muscles disintegrated. “Some organs were unrecognisable,” says Guerra.


Badly damaged ears

And all the squid had badly damaged ears. Guerra thinks this might have disoriented the giant animals and made them swim to the surface, where they suffocated, as water temperatures there are too warm for the oxygen-carrying molecules in their blood to function. He suspects that in squid with massive internal damage, the blast caused dissolved gases in their tissues to form bubbles, such as those produced by shaking a fizzy drink.

“No one has ever seen this before in giant squid,” says Guerra, who fears there might be many more victims.

Local fishermen also reported seeing large numbers of dead fish floating at sea during the surveys. These were the first seismic surveys in the area, but Guerra says the surveyors, led by geologists from the University of Orviedo and affiliated with the Spanish oil company Repsol, plan to continue in 2005.

Guerra, in his address to the Annual Science Conference of the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea, which is being held in Vigo, Spain, said he wants a discussion in the region first about how, and if, seismic surveys at sea should be done, in light of this new evidence.
http://www.newscientist.com/news/news.jsp?id=ns99996437
 

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2004-09-24

Giant squid: Monsters of the sea

Peabody exhibit captures most elusive of sea creatures
By Robert Miller

THE NEWS-TIMES


' The frightful animal!' he cried. I looked in my turn and could not restrain a movement of repulsion. Before my eyes was a monster worthy to figure in squid legends.' '
— from "Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea,'' by Jules Verne.

How lucky to be a fictional character and see what no mundane real-life human has — a giant squid.

Giant squid are the largest creature no one has ever seen alive. Squid are huge, weighing as much as half-a-ton, their tentacles stretching out to 30 or 40 feet. But they dwell deep in the ocean, far past our limits to see.

Which only adds to their pull on human imagination. Along with the science, there are the ancient tales of sea monsters, the sailor's stories of mammoth battles between squid and whales.

"It's one of the most fascinating creatures in the world to study,'' said Henry Townsend who spent three years in the 1960s helping the Peabody Museum of Natural History build its life-size model of a giant squid.

That handsome, 10-tentacled plastic and foam beast — after being removed to Yale University's biology department — is hanging again in the lobby of the Peabody, in part to celebrate the museum's new show "In Search of Giant Squid.'' It opens Saturday Sept. 25 and will be at the museum through December.

The exhibit has been organized by the Smithsonian Institution and will travel throughout the United States after it leaves New Haven. But the Peabody itself has a long involvement with the squid — its first curator of zoology, Addison Verrill was the first person to describe giant squid scientifically. Along with sheaves of Verrilliana in its archives, it has many squid and octopus specimens in its massive invertebrate collection.

Dr. Clyde Roper, a curator emeritus at the Smithsonian and one of the world's authorities on giant squid, visited Yale in the 1960s. He came to study their invertebrate collection and to act as a consultant in the construction of the giant squid model.

"This is so appropriate,'' said Jennifer Bine, the Smithsonian's project director for traveling exhibitions. "It's a cycling back for Clyde, and to bring the exhibit back to the Peabody and Verrill — it's good karma.''

The exhibit was also a thrill for Eric Lazo-Wasem, the Peabody's senior collections manager in invertebrate zoology, and for Barbara Narendra, the Peabody's archivist. They had a general idea of how rich the Peabody' collection was in giant squid paraphernalia; finding things for the exhibit gave them a chance to explore it in detail.

"We have so much,'' Narendra said. "We were making a discovery a day.''

Lazo-Wasem, who lives in Redding, said the museum's director, Michael Donoghue, had been enthralled by the invertebrate collection and wanted to get more out where people can see it.

"Now, we finally get to do that,'' Lazo-Wasem said.

The exhibit includes early descriptions of Kraken — huge sea monsters that were probably giant squid. It also has Howard Pyle illustrations from boys' adventure books and Marvel Comic covers, both showing men valiantly warding off attacks by giant squid. Two constants in these drawings, Lazo-Wasem said, are that the drawings are anatomically incorrect, squid-wise and that the men always have axes on hand to lop off a tentacle or two.

"No matter where they are, they have an ax,'' he said.

While other 19th century zoologists began to understand that there actually might be a living creature that fit the myth, it was Yale's Verrill who actually tried to study it.

Verrill's work came about because of an oceanographic quirk — there are occasional decades when dead giant squid washed ashore in Newfoundland and the other Maritime provinces of Canada. One occurred from 1871 to 1881; another was in the 1960s.

It was nearly impossible to get specimens shipped to New Haven, in part because Newfoundland fishermen generally cut up the squid they found for dog food or bait, in part because there were no jets to rush fragile squid parts hither and yon.

"Imagine what Newfoundland must have been like in the 1880s,'' Lazo-Wasem said.

Nevertheless, Verrill did got enough giant squid parts, preserved in ethyl alcohol and shipped south, to make the first valid scientific observations about the species, Architeuthis dux. cqOf the 75 scientific papers Verrill wrote in his lifetime, about a dozen concern the giant squid.

"He was the first zoologist to describe it, to characterize it for the scientific community,'' Lazo-Wasem said.

Yale still has those Newfoundland specimens, which are part of the exhibit. Lazo-Wasem said he was surprised himself at some of the preserved squid parts of hand, including the beak of a squid Verrill described in one of his papers.

"I didn't know we had it,'' he said. "But we had a student writing a paper on giant squid and she was very persistent about seeing this squid beak. I finally went down into the collection, looked on the shelves and found it.''

The exhibit also pays tribute to one of the first women professors of zoology, Grace Pickford. Working at Yale in the 1930s, she discovered an intermediate group, called the vampire squid, which fit between the eight-armed octopuses and the 10-tentacled squid. She also used the Yale collection to study the giant octopus, which, while at 35 pounds is big for an invertebrate, is not in the giant squid class.

"She was one of the most unsung women scientists in American history,'' Lazo-Wasem said. "But I know scientists who are now doing molecular analyses of the specimens she studied. They think even DNA will confirm the differences she observed.''

The 20th century scientific study of giant squid makes them more fabulous that the old myths. They jet-propel themselves through the water by a system of interior body structures which can gather water and then eject it; those tubes also allow giant squid to travel from 5,000 feet deep to the ocean's surface and down again without being damaged by water pressure.

They can also change color in an instant to blend into their surroundings, to swim undetected by predators.

"It's stealth technology in invertebrates,'' Lazo-Wasem said.

Giant squid have eyes as large as soccer balls — the largest eyes of any creature in the world. They have a large, hard beak, eight shorter tentacles and two tentacles that in the larger females, can be 35 to 40 feet long — scientists theorize they use those tentacles to grab passing fish for food.

And although none have been seen alive, enough specimens have been found on the shore or in fishermen's nets to lead scientists to believe the giant squid lives in all the oceans of the world.

Marine biologists have also studied whales enough to know that those stories of deep-sea battles between squid and whales are probably true. They know whales feed on squid because they've found giant squid beaks in whale stomachs; they've also seen whales scarred with the round pattern of squid suckers.

And for those who think of squid only in terms of fried calamari, two scientists did try to fry and eat a bit of giant squid. They found it so bitter as to be inedible — giant squid flesh, like that from a lot of deep-sea dwellers, is high in ammonia.

In recent years, zoologists have tried in vain to see a giant squid in its natural surroundings. The Smithsonian's Roper led an expedition that attached a waterproof camera to the back of a sperm whale, in hopes it would catch an image of the squid in passing.

"We got some fascinating images of sperm whale behavior,'' Bine, of the Smithsonian said. "But no giant squid.''

Although the exhibit will leave the Peabody by year's end, the model of the giant squid will stay put, cruising the air above the museum's lobby. The model — one of the first of a giant squid that was true to science — had hung in the lobby for years, then was shifted to a nearby biology building. It does not travel lightly.

"Every time it gets moved, it's a bigger challenge,'' Lazo-Wasem said. "When we brought it back here, we had to get it through a revolving door in the biology department. How do you get a giant squid through a revolving door?''

In search of...
Giant Squid
On Sunday at 12:15 p.m., Smithsonian research zoologist Dr. Clyde Roper, curator of “In Search of Giant Squid,” will give a talk about current efforts to find giant squid.
From noon to 4 p.m., the Museum will offer squid-related activities, including crafts, storytelling, live animal displays, and games on how squid and octopus suckers work!
A gigantic participatory sidewalk drawing of a giant squid is also planned, weather permitting.
All activities are free with admission.
-----------------------
"The Search for Giant Squid'' will be at the Peabody Museum of Natural History in New Haven from Saturday, Sept. 25 to Sunday. January 2, 2005.

The museum is open Mondays through Saturdays 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays, noon to 5 p.m. It will be closed on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas and New Year's Day.

Admission is for adults; for children 3 to 18; and for seniors, 65 and over. Admission is free Thursday afternoons from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.

For more information, call the museum at (203) 432-6342 or go to its Web site at http://www.peabody.yale.edu
http://leisure.newstimes.com/story.php?id=65188
 

Mighty_Emperor

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Seems like the balloon has gone up on this one folks - give your copy of "The Kraken Wakes" a final once over and then report to your nearest naval/military base for further orders. Its us or them time I'm afriad.

Giant squid 'taking over world'

By Simon Benson

GIANT squid are taking over the world, well at least the oceans, and they are getting bigger.

According to scientists, squid have overtaken humans in terms of total bio-mass.

That means they take up more space on the planet than us.

The reason has been put down to overfishing of other species and climate change.

A report in the Australian science journal, Australasian Science, said marine researchers are now in universal agreement that cephalopods have been given an advantage not available to any other sea creature.

And as a result they have been allowed to flourish.

Their growth rates also seem to be increasing as is their body size.

The findings may offer an answer to the mysterious appearance of a giant squid on the coast of Tasmania last week and hundreds of squid washed ashore on the coast of California this week, although El Nino is also being partly blamed.

Squid are now regarded as the "major player'' in the world oceans by sheer volume alone.

Overfishing of some fish species has taken away competition for the squid in finding food resources.

The warming of waters due to climate change have also allowed squid to expand their populations.

Dr George Jackson from the Institute of Antarctic and Southern Ocean studies in Tasmania said squid thrived during environmental disasters such as global warming.

The animal ate anything in that came their way, bred whenever possible and kept growing.

"This trend has been suggested to be due both to the removal of cephalopod predators such as toothed whales and tuna and an increase of cephalopods due to removal of finfish competitors,'' said Dr Jackson.

"The fascinating thing about squid is that they're short-lived.

"I haven't found any tropical squid in Australia older than

200 days.

"Many of the species have exponential growth, particularly during the juvenile stage so if you increase the water temperature by even a degree it has a tremendous snowballing effect of rapidly increasing their growth rate and their ultimate body size.

"They get much bigger and they can mature earlier and it just accelerates everything.''

The Food and Agricultural Organisation of the UN supports the theory claiming squid landings have been increasing over the past 25 years at greater rates than fish.
http://www.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,4057,4811363^13762,00.html

Oh and start eating more calamari too!!

A serving suggestion: Apply a good dose of lemon juice and dip in some mayo.
 

BaronVonHoopla

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Emperor said:
Oh and start eating more calamari too!!

A serving suggestion: Apply a good dose of lemon juice and dip in some mayo.
I don't think you'd want to be doing that, they are full of amonia, and not edible.

-Fitz
 

Mighty_Emperor

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Seems that news report is rather an old one based on an overly sensational interpretation of a more sober study so stand at ease everyone ;)

-----------------
This strikes me as a rather loose use of the term "giant squid" and must refer to jumo squid but hey ho:

Peru seizes cocaine haul hidden in giant squid

16.11.2004 3.20 pm

LIMA, Peru - Peruvian police said on Monday they seized nearly 700kg of cocaine hidden in frozen giant squid bound for Mexico and the United States.

The drugs were covered in pepper to divert sniffer dogs and sealed in several layers of plastic and other wrappers. Police had been on the trail since August.

Seven people were arrested in the drug seizure. Police said the haul would have a street value of about .5 million (.31 million).

Peru is the world's Number 2 cocaine producer after Colombia, and many of its drugs end up on US streets after being sent via Mexico.
Source
 

Mighty_Emperor

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Updated: Monday December 06, 2004 at 5:19:12 PM

A Giant Squid in Colliers 12/6/04 (VOCM News)
A giant squid has been landed in Colliers. One resident, Angela, told VOCM Niteline with Linda Swain, it's about 20 feet in length, and is somewhat mangled. Some people dragged it up up onto the beach and it's been the target of photo buffs ever since.
Source

Giant squid recovered in Conception Bay

WebPosted Dec 6 2004 02:47 PM NST

ST. JOHN'S — A giant squid that washed ashore Sunday at Colliers in Conception Bay is attracting plenty of attention.

Giant squid have never been observed in their natural, deep sea environment, and only occasionally wash ashore.

The squid that landed Sunday measured about 5.5. metres, from tentacle to tail. The squid had been broken into two pieces.

The squid is being held at Academy Canada in St. John's.

Instructor Bob Richard initially travelled to look at the squid, as did dozens of others.

"My intention was to go out and take some pictures and some measurements," says Richard, who retrieved the squid so it could be examined.

Researchers from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans will do an autopsy on the squid.

Scientists believe giant squid can grow to be as large as 18 metres long, and weigh as much as 1,000 kilograms.

In 1964, researchers at Memorial University landed an intact specimen, which measured about nine metres in length and weighed 150 kilograms.
Source
 

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Giant squid to be 'plastinated' for posterity

11:17 03 December 04



Out of its natural habitat, the giant squid Architeuthis dux is something of a flop. “They’re so heavy, they collapse under their own weight. You lose the lovely cylindrical mantle and arms,” says Steve O’Shea, squid expert at the Auckland University of Technology in New Zealand.

But now for the first time, two huge giant squid specimens are being prepared to go on display. And the preparation is being done by controversial German anatomist Gunther von Hagens, who will use the “plastination” technique that he uses to display human bodies.

Von Hagens invented plastination while at the University of Heidelberg in the 1970s. The process involves replacing water and fat in the corpse with a polymer, and it has allowed him to exhibit dissected human bodies in life-like poses. But a giant squid, with its lack of a rigid internal skeleton for support, and relatively poorly understood circulatory system, poses some novel challenges.

To research the project, von Hagens visited O’Shea in October to study some much smaller species such as arrow squid. “We dissected a number of ‘sacrificial’ squid,” says O’Shea. This week, O’Shea sent a mature female giant squid, measuring about 10 metres including tentacles, and a mature male, just under 7 metres, to Heidelberg.

The plastination process could take up to a year, and the squid will need a rigid framework for support, but O’Shea is confident that von Hagens will be able to display the animals.
Source

Steve O' Shea will ship you your very own fixed giant squid for NZ$10-12,000 if anyone is interested in buying one for the CFI. Scroll down the page for photographs and discussions on his plastinization process whichs should be fascinating!!!
 

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Hannibal Squid

Giant squid may be cannibals

GIANT squid may have more on their menu than ill-fated sailors. Australian researchers have discovered that the mysterious creatures – enshrined in myth as ferocious beasts that attack hapless mariners – may indulge in cannibalism.

The University of Tasmania team used a novel DNA-based approach to test the stomach contents of a 190kg male specimen caught by fishermen off Tasmania's west coast in 1999.

Three tentacles and 12 squid beak fragments were found in the stomach of the giant squid.

While the beaks could not be identified, DNA from stomach juices and tentacle fragments all belonged to the giant squid, or Architeuthis dux.

The only other species identified was a fish, the blue grenadier, not previously recorded as Architeuthis prey.

The giant squid is the world's largest invertebrate, believed to grow up to 18m in length and weighing up to 900kg.

They have eight arms as thick as fire hoses and large and complex brains.

But because none have ever been caught alive, mystery still surrounds the species.

They are believed to live at depths of anything between 200m and 700m, and specimens have been found stranded all over the globe.

Identifying the prey of giant squid has also been difficult, due to the scarcity of samples and their tendency to finely macerate their food.

To eat, they shoot out two longer tentacles like a bungee cord before drawing their prey into the mouth, where a parrot-like beak chops the meat into small chunks.

PhD student and research leader Bruce Deagle said the DNA results provided a framework for future studies, particularly diet data collection from the giant squid and other rare species such as beaked whales.

Australian Antarctic Division research scientist Simon Jarmon said while the study could not rule out accidental self-ingestion, the Tasmanian research was probably the first time giant squid cannibalism had been demonstrated "reasonably conclusively".

"People for a long time thought that DNA in dietary samples would be too degraded because of all the digestive processes," he said.

Dr Jarmon said scientists would use the DNA technique on marine animals including whales and penguins, but future research of the giant squid was dependent on getting more samples.

"They're such mysterious creatures. You can't really tell anything about them because no one has ever seen one alive, you've got no idea how many there are or what they might be feeding on," he said.

The giant squid's only known enemy is the sperm whale. Whales have been found with squid in their stomachs, and battle scars believed caused by its suckers.

The Australian Newspaper
July 28, 2005
http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/co ... 02,00.html
Hungry Buggers!
 

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First Giant Squid Captured in Wild (on Film, That Is)


By WILLIAM J. BROAD
Published: September 27, 2005

For decades, scientists and sea explorers have mounted costly expeditions to hunt down and photograph the giant squid, a legendary monster with eyes the size of dinner plates and a nightmarish tangle of tentacles lined with long rows of sucker pads.

The goal has been to learn more about a bizarre creature of no little fame (Jules Verne's giant squid attacked a submarine and Peter Benchley's ate children) that in real life has stubbornly refused to give up its secrets. While giant squid have been snagged in fishing nets, and dead or dying ones have washed ashore, expeditions have repeatedly failed to photograph a live one in its natural habitat, the inky depths of the sea.

But in an article to be published Wednesday in a leading British biological journal, two Japanese scientists, Tsunemi Kubodera and Kyoichi Mori, report that they have made the world's first observations of a giant squid in the wild.

Working some 600 miles south of Tokyo off the Bonin Islands, known in Japan as the Ogasawara Islands, they managed to photograph the creature with a robotic camera at a depth of 3,000 feet. During a struggle lasting more than four hours, the 26-foot-long animal took the proffered bait and eventually broke free, leaving behind an 18-foot length of tentacle.

The giant squid, the researchers conclude, "appears to be a much more active predator than previously suspected, using its elongate feeding tentacles to strike and tangle prey." They report that the tentacles could apparently coil into a ball, much as a python envelops its victims.

The Japanese researchers are reporting their findings on Wednesday in the British publication Proceedings of the Royal Society B, the B standing for the biological sciences. The Royal Society, based in London, is the world's oldest scientific organization.

Scientists praised the discovery as a long-awaited breakthrough.

"This has been a mystery for a thousand years," said Richard Ellis, author of "Monsters of the Sea" (Knopf, 1994). o "Nobody knew what they looked like in the wild. We only saw them dead. These images will open the door to more detailed study of their life."

The squid hunters themselves are agog, and some perhaps a bit jealous.

"Wow!" said Emory Kristof, a photographer for National Geographic who twice ventured to New Zealand in hopes of capturing giant squid on film. "It's always been a presumption to say you're hunting the giant squid when we know so little. It's great that they got it."

The Japanese researchers work for the National Science Museum in Tokyo and the Ogasawara Whale-Watching Association.

They discovered the giant by following packs of sperm whales, which are known to feed on the giant invertebrates. With squid remains being found near the Bonin Islands, the researchers focused the hunt there.

The explorers created a float system with a long line from which they suspended a robotic camera and strobe light. The camera looked downward at hooks baited with a small squids and took pictures every 30 seconds. A bag of mashed shrimps acted as an odor lure. The researchers set up a number of such rigs near the islands.

On Sept. 30, 2004, a squid attacked the lowest bait on a rig that was positioned about 1,000 feet above the seafloor. Giant squid have eight short arms and two long tentacles. During the attack, the squid wrapped its two long tentacles like a ball around the bait, the researchers report.

One of the squid's tentacles was caught, and the creature moved violently in the next four hours to break free. It was often out of camera range, suggesting, the scientists say, that it was attempting to swim free.

After 4 hours 13 minutes of struggle, the animal tore away, leaving a tentacle behind.

At 26 feet, this is a relatively small specimen; giant squid are thought to grow as long as 60 feet. But with DNA analysis and other comparisons with squid that have washed ashore, the researchers confirmed that it was a giant.

The squid is often known by its genus name, Architeuthis (pronounced ark-uh-TOOTH-iss), Greek for chief squid. The researchers say their photos dispel the notion that it is a sluggish creature that trolls for prey.

"The long tentacles are clearly not weak fishing lines dangled below the body," they write. "Our images suggest that giant squids are much more active predators than previously suggested."
Source

Great pictures:
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news ... ant_squid/

TONMO discussion:
www.tonmo.com/forums/showthread.php?t=4858
 

RainyOcean

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LONDON (Reuters) - Japanese scientists have taken the first photographs of one of the most mysterious creatures in the deep ocean -- the giant squid.
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Until now the only information about the behavior of the creatures which measure up to 18 meters (59 feet) in length has been based on dead or dying squid washed up on shore or captured in commercial fishing nets.

But Tsunemi Kubodera, of the National Science Museum, and Kyoichi Mori of the Ogasawara Whale Watching Association, both in Tokyo have captured the first images of Architeuthis attacking bait 900 meters (yards) below the surface in the cold, dark waters of the North Pacific.

"We show the first wild images of a giant squid in its natural environment," they said in a report on Wednesday in the journal Proceedings B of the Royal Society.

Little is known about the creatures because it has been so difficult to locate and study them alive. Large ships and specialist equipment, which is costly, are needed to study deep sea environments.

The Japanese scientists found the squid by following sperm whales, the most effective hunters of giant squid, as they gathered to feed between September and December in the deep waters off the coast of the Ogasawara Islands in the North Pacific.

They used a remote long-line camera and depth logging system to capture the giant squid in the ocean depths.

"The most dramatic character of giant squids is the pair of extremely long tentacles, distinct from the eight shorter arms. The long tentacles make up to two-thirds of the length of the dead specimens to date," the scientists said in the journal.

They added that the giant squid appear to be a much more active predator than researchers had suspected and tangled their prey in their elongated feeding tentacles.
Pictures at link

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20050927/sc_nm/squid_dc
 
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Anonymous

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On camera at last: giant squid that left behind a 20ft tentacle
By Hiroko Tabuchi, AP
Published: 28 September 2005

Japanese scientists have photographed a live giant squid in the wild for the first time, ending an age-old quest to document one of the most mysterious creatures of the deep sea.

The team led by Tsunemi Kubodera, from the National Science Museum in Tokyo, tracked the 26-foot-long Architeuthis as it attacked prey at a depth of 3,000 feet off the coast of Japan's Bonin islands.

"We believe this is the first time a grown giant squid has been captured on camera in its natural habitat," said Kyoichi Mori, a marine researcher who co-authored an article on the finding in Wednesday's issue of the Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences.

The camera was operated by remote control during research in the fall of 2004, capping a three-year search for the squid around the Bonin islands, 1,000 kilometers (670 miles) south of Tokyo, Mori told The Associated Press on Wednesday.

The feat was praised by researchers as an important milestone in observation of the enormous creatures, which appeared in the writings of the ancient Greeks as well as Jules Verne's "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea."

"It's the holy grail of deep sea animals," said Jim Barry, a marine biologist at Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute in California who has searched for giant squid without luck. "It's one that we have never seen alive, and now someone has video of one."

New Zealand's leading authority on giant squid, marine biologist Steve O'Shea, hailed the Japanese team's feat, although he said the photographs in themselves would probably not advance knowledge about the animals much.

"Our reaction is one of tremendous relief that the so-called ... race is over ... because the animal has consumed the last eight or nine years of my life," he said. O'Shea added that Kubodera's determination in tracking down the animal "is truly commendable. I think it is fantastic."

Mori said the squid, which was purplish red like smaller squid, attacked its quarry aggressively.

"Contrary to belief that the giant squid is relatively inactive, the squid we captured on film actively used its enormous tentacles to go after prey," Mori said.

"It went after some bait that we had on the end of the camera and became stuck, and left behind a tentacle six meters long, " Mori said.

Kubodera, also reached by The AP, said researchers ran DNA tests on the tentacle and found it matched those of other giant squids found around Japan. The animal — which has eight arms and two longer feeding tentacles — was not in danger of dying from the injury, he said.

"Other sightings were of smaller, or very injured squids washed toward the shore — or of parts of a giant squid," Kubodera said. "This is the first time a full-grown, healthy squid has been sighted in its natural environment in deep water."

"I always suspected that giant squid lived in deep water, and that they moved as actively as ordinary squid," Kubodera added. "Our discovery confirms this."

The researcher, however, would make no claims about the scientific significance of his team's work.

"As for the impact our discovery will have on marine research, I'll leave it to other researchers to decide," he said.

Giant squids have long attracted human fascination and imagination, but almost everything scientists know about them has come from dead specimens found beached or floating in the ocean. The largest ones have eyes the size of dinner plates. Scientific interest in the animals has surged in recent years as more specimens have been caught in commercial fishing nets.

Researchers said the quest to learn more about the animals would go on.

O'Shea, who said there were five equally large or larger species of giant squid that have yet to be photographed, has pursued the beasts in the hope of capturing juveniles and raising them successfully in captivity.

O'Shea, the chief marine scientist at the Auckland University of Technology, enclosed 17 of them five years ago, but they died in captivity.

"We are using this charismatic mega fauna to lure people in to ... far more important issues such as conservation ... of these magnificent creatures," he said.

By focusing on the giant squid and protecting it by closing areas of coastal habitat, many smaller species were also being protected from bottom trawling and other fishing methods, he added.

Kubodera said he hoped to get more funding to carry on research, possibly to capture videos of giant squids in the same area. Currently, the project is funded only by the National Science Museum.

The next hunt for the giant squid will be in mid-October, Kubodera said. No giant squid were found in an earlier hunt this month.
http://news.independent.co.uk/world/asia/article315600.ece
 

Rubyait

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This same story is on the BBC site as well. I especially liked this bit..

"The grip wasn't as strong as I expected; it felt sticky," he explained.
Umm maybe this had something to do with the fact that you had actually removed it from the squid that was 900m down. I dunno a wild guess?! :D
 

GNC

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Great pictures, although I expected it to look more elegant rather than flailing around like that. Or perhaps it was flailing around because part of its anatomy was trapped?
 

feen5

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Or perhaps it was flailing around because part of its anatomy was trapped?
I don't think any animal or human is going to look its most elegant with one of its limbs or appendages trapped for four and half hours...though i'd pay good money to see George Bush or Tony Blair in the same situation. :D

I wonder if the japenese are now going to turn there attention to trying to get photos of its larger again cousin, Mesonychoteuthis Hamiltoni, the colossal squid.
 
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Anonymous

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Love in the deep: sex life of the giant squid revealed
By David Randall
Published: 02 October 2005

Scientists used to think that the most chaotic love lives in the world were lived by certain marsupials, supermodels and Premiership footballers. Not any more. New research has emerged which shows that when it comes to an eventful sex life, nothing can compare with a giant squid.

Until recently, little was known of these elusive animals, which live up to 1.5 kilometres down in the pitch-black depths.

But a series of strandings on the Atlantic beaches of Spain have brought five squid to the surface and, with them, revelations about their hitherto secret sexual shenanigans. Be warned: the marine biologists' findings are not for the squeamish.

Consider, courtesy of the team's article in the magazine of the International Council for the Exploration of the Seas, the following: a courting couple, both up to 18 metres long and equipped with eight legs and two tentacles.

In the red corner, a female one-third larger than the male and often distinctly resistant to his advances. In the blue corner, the eager lad, ready to deploy a penis eight feet long.

This is no ordinary eight-foot penis. It is hypodermic, and hence able to pierce the female's arm and impregnate her. It is also, say the scientists from the Institute of Marine Research in Vigo, unable to distinguish between the arm of a female, that of a passing male, or even its own limbs.

Hence, among the five carcasses of Architeuthis dux was a male that had been inseminated, although it is not known whether this was by himself or another who mistook him for a female.

The report is nothing if not explicit on these murky matters: "The male's sexual organ is actually a bit like a high-pressure fire hose and is normally nearly as long as his body, excluding legs and head.

"But having such a big penis does have one drawback: it seems co-ordinating eight legs, two feeding tentacles and a huge penis, whilst fending off an irate female, is a bit too much to ask, and one of the two males stranded had accidentally injected himself with sperm packages in the legs and body." The Spanish report came as Japanese scientists captured the first film of giant squid in the deep. Until now, the 600 or so observed over the past 400 years have been dead or dying ones that had floated to the surface.

But two experts, from the National Science Museum and the Ogasawara Whale Watching Association, both in Japan, took 550 pictures of squid at 900 metres as the cephalopods went for bait dangling beneath a camera.

These images contradicted previous ideas about how the squid caught their prey. It was thought that they hung at mid-depths, languidly trailing their feeding tentacles to catch a meal. But the squid filmed by the Japanese grabbed the bait, then coiled their tentacles around it.

Despite their size, giant squid are not top of the ocean food chain. In some parts of the world, they make up between 30 and 40 per cent of the diet of sperm whales. It is, then, perhaps a good job for their own survival that they keep mating with the enthusiasm that they do.

http://news.independent.co.uk/world/environment/article316609.ece
 

rynner2

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"But having such a big penis does have one drawback: it seems co-ordinating eight legs, two feeding tentacles and a huge penis, whilst fending off an irate female, is a bit too much to ask, and one of the two males stranded had accidentally injected himself with sperm packages in the legs and body."
Accidentally?

If the females are so 'irate', perhaps the squid thought "Stuff that for a game of soldiers", and resorted to the do-it-yourself method.

In other words, he was a masturbating mollusc! :shock:
 

Iggore

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They used to be my favorite crypto. Until readig this thread, especialy the part about sex. You guys completly killed the magic.

I'm goign to settle on the chupa.
 

blakta2

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I havent read the entire Giant Squid thread as yet, but it has been a great interest of mine since I was a teen. Not long ago we had a WILD
Giant Squid experience here in Alaska. Sitka Alaska to be exact. I lived there for 20 years. I absolutely could not believe how it went down considering how long researchers have been praying for one of these elusive Giants to answer some important questions such as how they actually hunt, etc. This Sitka fisherman pulled up a Giant Squid that literally had a huge Halibut in its' clutches and was gnawing on it! The squid was ALIVE and well. He didn't know exactly what the heck was going on so he pulled the damned thing up, gaffed and put the thing on ICE!! He actually cut a chunk from the squid, FRIED IT UP AND ATE IT! Unbelievable...just plain unbelievable. Can you imagine how the scientists and researchers that have made the Giant Squid their lifes work must have felt when they heard this story? Anyhow, here's a link. Read it and weep. I did.

http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qa3787/is_200209/ai_n9093659

~Kim~
 

blakta2

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Hi :D

The fisherdude did cut a nice chunk out of that squid and eat it, but he learned rather quickly that the thing wasn't at all edible.

Kambak and a deckhand gaffed, gutted and iced the squid. Kambak said he initially wanted to salvage the creature for food, but soon learned that giant squid aren't really edible.

"I fried up a little bit just to check it out," he told the Daily News. "It was incredibly salty and it had a little bit of an aftertaste."

Researchers said the creature was probably a giant Pacific squid, a species that ranges from California to Japan. The biggest squid-rarely seen alive-grow up to 60 feet long and live as deep as 3,500 feet.
What was really neat about it is that the thing was latched on to its' prey and rode it to the surface of the ocean. The fishermen had no idea what they were looking at to begin with.



Kambak was fishing for black cod in the Gulf of Alaska southwest of Yakutat in mid-April when he was startled to find a hooked halibut rising from a depth of 2,000 feet with a snarled brown mass on its back. The deep-water predator had no plans to let go of the 150pound flatfish and gnawed on the halibut all the way to the surface.

"It looked like a stained-glass window of a halibut," Kambak told the Anchorage Daily News, "where the arms and tentacles of the squid were the lead between the panes. Because this squid had totally encapsulated this halibut."
Anyhow, I know it wasn't a GIGANTIC squid, but it drew a lot of attention and quite a few researchers from around the country. Something like that is BIG NEWS for a small fishing town in Southeast Alaska. ;)

~Kim~
 

Mighty_Emperor

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Anyone in the Mebourne area (actually I can check on the handy poll)?:

Eye-to-eye with a giant squid

From:
By Natasha Robinson

December 21, 2005


THE crew of a New Zealand fishing trawler were lucky Archi the giant squid was dead when they hauled him up on deck.


Ned Land, of Disney fame, was not so lucky when a giant squid attacked him in the 1950s film 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.

But children who come to view Archi, whose tentacles are doubled back and forth above him in a custom-made box in Melbourne Aquarium, will be safe. The 7m monster is trapped in the biggest block of ice ever made in Australia.

"You could call it a monster," says curator Nick Kirby. "It looks like it almost wants to come out of the ice."

Fascination with the giant squid stems from years of unconfirmed reports from fisherman about their boats being attacked by the creatures.

Stories of the beasts taking on sperm whales and coming out victorious were dismissed as fantasy until scientists agreed it was possible.

And adding to its mystique, a giant squid had never been observed alive until a Japanese film crew captured one off the Ogasawara Islands in September last year.

Mr Kirby says the aquarium has been given three giant squids in the past, but this year is the first time staff have successfully encased one of the animals in ice.

"We experimented to see which was the best way to have a clear-ice display of the squid," he says. "That means freezing it over weeks, rather than hours. You've got to hold everything in place while it freezes.

"Now it's held in place with a mixture of wire that goes through the tentacles and body, and nylon and weights."

The freezing process took three weeks, says icemaker Rohan Donohoe. He had to freeze the ice slowly to stop it from cracking. The entire process cost more than $50,000.

"We ran circulating pumps and filters to keep the water clear," he says. "It was a big pain to move around because it weighed so much."

His ice enclosure will remain fresh for about a year, and Mr Kirby says after that another block will probably be made to allow the exhibition to continue or travel.

-------------
Melbourne Aquarium's Monsters of the Deep exhibition opens tomorrow and will run until January 26.
www.news.com.au/story/0,10117,17626520-13762,00.html
 

nataraja

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Giant “squid” in Chile scares vacationers

http://www.mercopress.com/Detalle.asp?NUM=7308
The emergence of a 1.7 meters long cuttlefish in a Puerto Montt beach, south of Chile caused panic Sunday among vacationers, reports the Chilean press

Apparently an eight year old girl was swimming in the Chinquihue beach when she began screaming for help. Several people went to her rescue and came across the giant cephalopod at waist depth, which they “stoned” to death and later pulled to the beach.

The incident with the approximately fifty kilos cuttlefish was reported to authorities who called for a local marine biologist.

Cristina Rodríguez from the Oceanography Department of the local university said the specimen was a Dosidicus gigas which approached the Chilean coast because at this time of the year the sea water temperature surges as much as two degrees.

“Sea water in the coast of Puerto Montt at this time of the year varies between 12 and 16 degrees which causes the cuttlefish to move in”, said Ms. Rodriguez. The marine expert forecasted that coastal fishermen will be the most affected in the coming weeks because of cuttlefish stranded in their nets and long lines. “This is not an isolated event, so we can expect to come across many more specimens in coming weeks”.

Ms Rodriguez described the Dosidicus gigas as an very aggressive species that feeds on fishes.

“He’s a big devourer of fish so local fishermen will be the most exposed if as happened in the Eighth Region, more precisely in Tomé, these cephalopods take over the beaches”, explained Ms Rodriguez to Puerto Montt press.
I'm a bit confused as to why they call it a "squid" in the title and then a "cuttlefish"... i'm not sure of the exact distinction between a cuttlefish and a squid, but thought from the other stuff i'd read that Dosidicus was generally considered a squid...

Not as big as Architeuthis or Mesonychoteuthis, but still pretty scary... i'm guessing the Alaskan halibut-eating squid was presumably the same or a similar genus?
 

Anome

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I was pretty sure that cuttlefish and squid are different. I don't think squids have quite the same "surfboard" arrangement of "bone" in the head. (Something I just checked here, and seems to be correct.)

Still, if it were a cuttlefish, it could keep a lot of budgies very happy for a long time.
 

OneWingedBird

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don't recall where i found this (aside from on my hard drive just now)... and i'm guessing it's totally fake... but still rather entertaining:

 
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