A Colossal Squid
On February 22, 2007, New Zealand authorities announced that a Colossal Squid measuring 10 meters long and 450 kilograms in weight had been caught be fishermen in the freezing Antarctic waters of the Ross Sea.
It was brought to the surface as it fed on a Patagonian toothfish that had been caught off a long line. The specimen eclipsed the previous largest find in 2003 by about 150 kilograms, but this is still considerably shorter than some estimates have predicted.
Current estimates suggest the Colossal Squid could grow as big as 12-14 meters (39-46 feet) long – possibly even larger!
Brief time line:
- Species was first discovered in the form of two tentacles found in the stomach of a sperm whale.
- 1981 – A Russian trawler in the Ross Sea, off the coast of Antarctica, caught a large squid with a total length of 4 meters (13 feet), which was later identified as an immature female of Mesonychoteuthis hamiltoni.
- 2003 – A complete specimen was found near the surface with a total length of 6 meters (20 feet) and a mantle length of 2.5 meters (8 feet).
- 2005 – A specimen was captured at a depth of 1625 meters while taking a toothfish from a long line off South Georgia Island. Although the mantle was not brought aboard, the mantle length was estimated at over 2.5 m, and the tentacles measured 230 centimeters. The animal is thought to have weighed between 150 and 200 kilograms.
- 2007 – Largest ever specimen, a male (above), captured by New Zealand fishing boat off Antarctica. It had an estimated length of 10 meters, and weight of 450 kilograms. The squid was taken back to New Zealand for scientific study.
Giant Squid and Colossal Squid Fact Sheet from TONMO.com
Mesonychoteuthis hamiltoni at the Tree of Life web project