Size Matters When it Comes to Squid

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Filed under: Hype, Urban Legends

How Big Is A Colossal Squid Really?
by Dr. M
October 22, 2013

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Recently, Quarks to Quasar’s on Facebook published an illustration of how massive a Colossal Squid can reach. The Facebook post was liked by 3,300 people and shared 1,150 times (they have 351k followers). I am excited that the Colossal Squid is loved by this many people. One problem. The illustration is wrong. Really wrong. Although the Colossal Squid can reach, well, colossal proportions, the length of this big squid is grossly exaggerated in the above illustration.

Steve O’Shea one of the world’s leading experts on Big Ass Squids has this to say,

On April 1, 2003 the popular press was first alerted to the Colossal Squid, a.k.a. Mesonychoteuthis hamiltoni, although this species has been known to the scientific community since 1925, after it was described from two arm (brachial) crowns recovered from sperm whale stomachs (Robson 1925). We have located 11 further reports in which adult and subadult specimens have been described, and are aware of at least 7 further, similarly sized specimens that have yet to be reported. Juveniles of this species are not uncommon from surface waters to ~1000m depth….This species attains the greatest weight, but not necessarily greatest length of all squid species, and is known to attain a mantle length of at least 2.5m.

A newer specimen caught since Steve wrote the above is the Te Papa Museum Museum tank specimen that I’ve seen in person. It measures in at an actual total length of 5.4 meters (17.7 feet).

So more realistic would be:

ColossalComparison-425

Read the rest of this article here.

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