What's the deal with the "colossal squid?"

Did anyone else see the episode of Wildboyz where they went to New Zealand? A scientist who may or may not have been O’Shea displayed a pair of giant squid specimens on a table in his driveway! The squid were really slippery and gooey, so they kept sliding off of the table.

Unfortunately, IMDB doesn’t have a guest listing for that show, so I’m not sure whether it was O’Shea.

I remember that story; the mystery blob was eventually studied by researchers from the University of South Florida. They determined that it was a decayed whale face. The blob, that is, not the university.

I told you not to ask me that!

Seriously, I have no idea. In the Giant Squid and Colossal Squid Fact Sheet from Dr. O’Shea’s website that I linked to in the OP, he describes those two species and also the Giant Warty Squid (Kondakovia longimana). Since this species is not related to either Architeuthis or Mesonchyoteuthis (except insofar as they’re both squid), its presence on the fact sheet is a mystery. However, Dr. O’Shea refers to some photographs of Mesonchyoteuthis and Kondakovia from the National Museum of New Zealand, and suggests that the purpose of the fact sheet is actually to provide information to the press regarding these two species. Of course, this in turn raises the question of why Architeuthis is included, and why the publication isn’t entitled the “Colossal Squid and Warty Squid Fact Sheet.” My personal suspicion is that Dr. O’Shea gratuitously added the information on the giant squid just so he’d have an excuse to include Fig. 8, showing how much bigger his pet “colossal squid” is.

Incidentally, check out the web directory on the site, which features 11 links to various sources of information on cephalopods. It also features two links to information about Cthulhu.

(Fixed link)

Thanks, Beadalin. May the blessings of Cthulhu smile upon you. I thought I’d previewed that link; I seem to have a knack for incompetently pasting hypertext though.

Accurate perhaps. However, in this circumstance I would throw accuracy to the winds, and cry out something else, I’m afraid.

It’s not enough it’s a squid and it’s giant, it has to be giant, too? Yeesh.


“It’s not enough it’s a squid and it’s giant, it has to be warty, too.”

Now, for my next act, I’m going to get drunk, grope a random chick on the dance floor, and then discover it’s my mom.

Oh, wait, I’ve already done that too.


I understand it has bad breath as well.

The first photos of Architeuthis in the Wild were released today. That’s Some Squid!

And the Squid lost a bit of tenticle and then swam away. So now there is a angry giant squid off of Japan.
Any ships gone missing recently? :slight_smile:

Eeeeeew, eeeeew, ick ick ick!

Hully gee… that is just about the coolest thing ever. Behold the giant squid, live on camera. Chalk another one up for science! Just imagine being out swimming, looking down and seeing that thing coming up out of the depths at you.

I note with interest that the **Nat’l Geographic ** article has bought into the whole contrived “colossal squid” designation for Mesonchyoteuthis, and also mentions that it has eyes of a size comparable to those of Architeuthis. I wonder if the magazine actually has some independent confirmation of this, or if the author is simply repeating the claim Dr. O’Shea made after studying a specimen which had no eyes?

Just thought I’d say: excellent work, Terrifel!

Have you considered adding any of this to Wikipedia?

Thanks muchly, Ranchoth. Actually I’m not familiar enough with WIkipedia to know how appropriate a “random person percieves suspicious pattern of misinformation and hyperbole regarding the Antarctic cranch squid” entry would be.

I’d like to point out that Gargantuan Ultrasquid would make a cool…
…you know.


Dessert topping?

Super-absorbent feminine hygiene pad?

Don’t keep us in suspense here.


Heavens, guys, gals; you’re a bit rough on me aren’t you? Someone just drew this thread to my attention.

First and foremost, anyone that has dealt with the press knows that you don’t believe everything that you read! They do tend to sensationalise everything. If it doesn’t have big hooks, big teeth, huge eyes, breathes fire, cable-cutting beaks and a forked tongue then it is simply not going to get a mention.

However, there are just a couple of points that I care to clarify right here.

  1. 1 + 1 does not equal 3 at AUT!

  2. The manuscript describing this *Mesonychoteuthis *specimen, and several additional specimens is now complete and about to be submitted for publication.

  3. Put yourself in our shoes; you receive a humungous block of ice, defrost it and blow your mind. You have before you something that is larger (see point 5) than anything you have ever encountered before, and you have processed MANY tons of fisheries bycatch and know what you are talking about. Do you: a) go golly gosh, take the beaks out and discard it because you haven’t a bottle big enough to put it in; b) measure, describe and preserve the specimen, submit for publication, wait 2 years in the process, then have a press release when the specimen is shrivelled up in formalin, stinks and looks quite disgusting; c) call the cameras in so that everyone has the opportunity to see it (see point 4), then go about the process of describing it.

  4. Given the extent of commercial fisheries impacts in the environment, people have a right to know what is happening and where. We deliberately prostitute and presstitute ourselves by using this charismatic megafauna to lure people into far more important issues, such as conservation. Do a google search on my name + conservation. You’ll see that I am no stranger to this game. It is not about the squid, but about the environment; people don’t give a rats ar5e about the myriad smaller-bodied so-called insignificant animals killed everytime a trawl hits the sea bed - but they do is the squid are killed, or the diet of teuthophagous cetaceans is forced to change over 30 years given the loss of primary food sources and habitat.

Finally, 5). Size is a difficult one to measure. In squid it can be in terms of total length, standard length, mantle length and weight; you have concerned yourself solely with weight.

Of 121 Architeuthis dux that I have handled personally over the past 8 years, the maximum length was 13m (~40 feet), with a weight of 275kg (I haven’t converted to pounds); this was a female with a mantle length of 2.25m, a standard length (mantle, head and arms) of 5m; the rest of her, ~2.3m of tentacle within the arm crown (included in the standard length measurement) and a free portion of 8m is made up of these two inordinately long, feeble tentacles. The male is shorter and lighter, to 10m and 150kg. Mantle and standard length are the two standards in squid descriptions.

I’ll ask you. What would you sooner be in the water with. A 13m Architeuthis (total length) weighing 275kg, or a 5m (total length) **SUBMATURE **Mesonychoteuthis weighing ~ 300kg? That weight has to be distributed somewhere, and that is in the BODY of the animal; it is stuffing enormous. It doesn’t have pathetic, feeble tentacles to stretch out like Architeuthis; this animal attains a massive size that exceeds that of *Architeuthis *in mantle and standard length.

If anyone really cares I can link you to several sites/images that give you a direct comparison, and an indication of the damage that this squid can do to a sperm whale. I’m a tad disinclined right now; we’ll see. You will find this subject discussed to death on www.TONMO.com; it’s the only site I visit regularly as I don’t have a lot of time. I’ll get to the eyes later; they are typical of the family Cranchiidae.


can’t figure out how to edit the earlier … sorry … that’s why I spend so little time online.

I meant total length

The 57-foot animal that you refer to was paced, not measured (it says this very clearly in the original paper), partially digested (it would have been ex sperm whale stomach, regurgitated when harpooned), stranded on a beach, the tentacles stretched, and several days old. Parts of these old *Architeuthis *specimens still exist in collections of the Museum of New Zealand (the old Dominion Museum, where the original researchers resided), and they are no larger than remains of average-sized squid seen today.

Welcome to the SDMB Steve O’Shea. The edit function is not available on this board, so we just proof read before submitting and we don’t get too uptight about typos.

So it’s the Fundie argument: It’s OK to lie if we save your soul/ecosystem.

This isn’t the right forum for discussing the ethics of prostituting science for an ideological cause so I won’t say any more.