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#1 Old 04-04-2003, 08:36 AM
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Rare colossal squid found near Antarctica

April 03, 2003, 08:30

A rare and dangerous squid, with eyes the size of dinner plates and scores of razor-sharp hooks to snag its prey, has been caught by fishermen off Antarctica, New Zealand scientists said today.

The half-grown female colossal squid is only the second intact example of the monster cephalopod known to have been found, said Steve O'Shea, a marine biologist of New Zealand's national museum. "I've seen 105 giant squid, but seeing something like this is pretty sensational," O'Shea said.

A trawler caught the 150 kg squid in the sub-Antarctic Ross Sea, which is about 3 600 km south of Wellington.

The squid was eating Patagonian Toothfish, which grow to two metres in length, when it was caught. It was dead when it was hauled into the trawler, and the remains are now in the New Zealand national museum.

The body of the colossal squid is much bigger than the giant squid, which can weigh up to 900 kg when fully grown. A giant squid's tentacles can be up to 13 m long, compared with 5 m on the recovered creature.

Comparisons are difficult because of the colossal squid's hostile environment and rarity. Five of the six previous discoveries have only been pieces inside sperm whale stomachs.

More dangerous.

Kat Bolstad, an American marine biologist, said the colossal squid was a more dangerous animal than the giant squid, the mythical monster of the deep that attacked Captain Nemo's Nautilus in Jules Verne's Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea.

"This is a very aggressive animal and moves quickly. If you fell in the water next to it you would be in big trouble," said Bolstad.

The colossal squid finds food by literally glowing in the dark, deep waters, to light up prey for its massive eyes, the biggest of any animal. However, it is the colossal squid's weaponry that marks it out from its giant cousin. Its eight arms and two tentacles have up to 25 teeth-like hooks, which are deeply rooted into its muscle, and are able to rotate 360 degrees. The fish also has unusual suckers to ensure fish do not escape.

The hooks not only hold fish for the squid's two parrot-like beaks, but also are used to fend off attacks from hungry sperm whales, O'Shea said.

The species was previously thought to have lurked at least a kilometre down in the freezing waters near Antarctica, but the specimen, found a fort night ago, was discovered near the surface.

O'Shea said the discovery raised questions about what else was down deep in the ocean.

"We know so little about the marine environment in general. If animals like this are turning up, what's going to be at 3 000 m depth. We don't know," O'Shea said. - Reuters

I saw footage of this animal on the news. It's amazing.... the size of the eyes, two beaks, the size (and not yet fully grown), the hooks and tentacles.

I hate deep dark water, but I find it fascinating thinking what could be down there (some of my favourite parts of the Space Odyssey books (2001, 2010, 2061, 3001) are the underwater scenes).

Diagram of it here:
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#2 Old 04-04-2003, 08:46 AM
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Wow..that's huge compared to a human on the illustration they used. I'd love to see real pic's of it. I didn't read the whole thing, so it may say. How old do they estimate this to be? I too am facinated me just what we don't know in regards to life leaving in the depths of the waters. It's definitely a whole other world!
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#3 Old 04-04-2003, 09:33 AM
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That's creepy. Now I'm going to have nightmares tonight.
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#4 Old 04-04-2003, 09:54 AM
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Just think of what it has to eat to get that big and then maintain. There must be more awesome creatures down there that we don't even know about for sure!
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#5 Old 04-04-2003, 10:13 AM
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Wow! That is something alright.

I wonder can it survive on plankton a Blue(?) Whale, or does it hunt 'regular' fish/mammals? Although, doesn't the Blue Whale have adapted 'teeth' to filter the plankton out of the water?
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#6 Old 04-04-2003, 04:40 PM
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Riceboy: Blue whales and other large whales(except sperm whales) have "teeth" called baleen. They're big bony plates with hair-like fibres around the edges to filter out plankton from the water.

Seems like this squid wouldn't have been able to do that, and probably would've fed on larger things. I don't really know though, so don't take my word for it!
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#7 Old 04-04-2003, 04:50 PM
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Here is a link to a picture.
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#8 Old 04-04-2003, 04:53 PM
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That is amazing!

I remember being very impressed by the "Megamouth Shark" that was found a few years back.

We see the world as "we" are, not as "it" is; because it is the "I" behind the "eye" that does the seeing.
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#9 Old 04-04-2003, 07:07 PM
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Was it alive when they caught it? Have they killed it in the name of science? I wish they would have left it alone where it was if they did. It's amazing but I'm also very sad for it. I wonder also what it was doing so close to the oceans surface. I'm thinking that since they are so rarely seen that they live further down in the depths than we are able to travel. The article that Thalia linked to says that they can go to depths of more than 6500 feet (or 2000 meters). That's deep. And it also says that she's not even mature yet! Just imagine how big momma is!! Poor thing...I wish she was back in the water swimming around
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#10 Old 04-04-2003, 07:54 PM
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I think it was dead when they got it bc they have been hoping to get a giant or colossal squid alive for decades. I am speculating that they would not want to kill it bc they have been waiting so long to see one alive, and it would be really big news.
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#11 Old 04-04-2003, 08:16 PM
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Another article I read on this implied it died when it got caught in the net or something.

I also wonder if it wasn't near the surface because it was sick.

Giant squids usually feed on fairly large fish of various types.

I've read a couple of interesting books (fiction) based on the premise that megalodons exist in the Marianas trench (and others).
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#12 Old 04-04-2003, 11:06 PM
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I'm glad it wasn't intentionally killed. I hope it wasn't something that is going wrong in the water...oh, I worry too much. It's huge. I couldn't imagine seeing one alive. That would be mind-blowing!
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#13 Old 04-06-2003, 06:12 PM
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i saw it on the news when they caught it, yeah lol, i wonder how big mum and dad are
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