Colossal squid caught near Antarctica

Big squid, size comparisonAssociated Press reports:

Fishermen Catch Huge Squid

By Ray Lilley

posted: 22 February 2007

WELLINGTON, New Zealand — A fishing crew has caught a colossal squid that could weigh a half-ton and prove to be the biggest specimen ever landed, a fisheries official said Thursday.

The squid, weighing an estimated 990 lbs and about 39 feet long, took two hours to land in Antarctic waters, New Zealand Fisheries Minister Jim Anderton said.

The fishermen were catching Patagonian toothfish, sold under the name Chilean sea bass, south of New Zealand “and the squid was eating a hooked toothfish when it was hauled from the deep,” Anderton said.

The fishing crew and a fisheries official on board their ship estimated the length and weight of the squid: Detailed, official measurements have not been made. The date when the colossus was caught also was not disclosed.

Colossal squid, known by the scientific name Mesonychoteuthis hamiltoni, are estimated to grow up to 46 feet long and have long been one of the most mysterious creatures of the deep ocean.

If original estimates are correct, the squid would be 330 pounds heavier than the next biggest specimen ever found.

“I can assure you that this is going to draw phenomenal interest. It is truly amazing,” said Dr. Steve O’Shea, a squid expert at the Auckland University of Technology.

If calamari rings were made from the squid they would be the size of tractor tires, he added.

Colossal squid can descend to 6,500 feet and are extremely active, aggressive hunters, he said.

The frozen squid will be transported to New Zealand’s national museum, Te Papa, in the capital, Wellington, to be preserved for scientific study.

Marine scientists “will be very interested in this amazing creature as it adds immeasurably to our understanding of the marine environment,” Anderton said.

Colossal squid are found in Antarctic waters and are not related to giant squid found round the coast of New Zealand.

Giant squid grow up to 39 feet long, but are not as heavy as colossal squid.


7 thoughts on “Colossal squid caught near Antarctica

  1. New Zealand fishermen land massive squid
    11:01AM today

    WELLINGTON (Reuters) – New Zealand fishermen may have caught the largest Colossal squid ever found — weighing around 450kg (992 pounds) and with rings the size of tires.

    The adult Colossal squid (Mesonychoteuthis hamiltoni) was caught by fishermen long lining for toothfish in deep ocean off Antarctica, New Zealand Fisheries Minister Jim Anderton said on Thursday in announcing the catch.

    The squid was still alive when caught and was eating a hooked toothfish when hauled aboard, Anderton said in a statement.

    “The squid was almost dead when it reached the surface, and the careful work of the crew was paramount in getting this specimen aboard in good condition,” Anderton said.

    “The crew stopped winching in the longline for two hours, while the squid was maneuvered into a cargo net and hauled aboard,” he said.

    The squid was frozen in the ship’s hull and brought back to New Zealand for scientific examination.

    “The colossal squid has just arrived in New Zealand and it is likely that it is the first intact adult male Colossal squid to ever be successfully landed,” Anderton said.

    Colossal squid are one of the most mysterious creatures in the deep ocean, growing up to 12 to 14 meters (36 to 42 feet) in length. Anderton said the squid would be photographed, measured, tissue sampled, registered and preserved intact.

    “On-going examination of this giant will help to unlock some of the mysteries of the deep ocean. Even basic questions such as how large does this species grow to, and how long does it live for are not yet known,” he said.

    Local media said early estimates put the squid at 10 meters (30 feet) in length and weighing 450 kg (992 pounds) — 150 kg (330 pounds) heavier than the next biggest specimen found.

    “I can assure you that this is going to draw phenomenal interest. It is truly amazing,” squid expert Steve O’Shea at Auckland University of Technology told local media.

    O’Shea said if calamari were made from the Colossal squid’s rings it would be the size of tractor tires.

    Anderton said Colossal squid were found in Antarctic waters and were not related to Giant squid (Architeuthis) found around the coast of New Zealand. Giant squid also grow up to 12 meters (36 feet), but are not as heavy.


  2. Giant squid takes a while to thaw out
    Apr 27, 2008 7:43 AM

    The largest giant squid ever caught will now not undergo dissection at Te Papa until about midday Wednesday – although it will still be viewable to a squeamish public.

    The museum plans to evenually stream live footage of scientists cutting the squid open on its website.

    It weighs 490 kilograms, and was dredged up by a New Zealand fishing boat in the Antarctic waters of the Ross Sea.

    Te Papa spokeswoman Jane Keig expects the museum’s website will be handling a lot of traffic.

    She says the squid has been in the freezer since February 2007, and scientists feel now is the right time to take a closer look.

    However, the creature still had not defrosted properly today, and Keig says it will take a good 36 hours of thawing at least before the team can get started on it.

    Jane Key says scientists are keen to see what the squid has been eating, and to do that, they will cut open its stomach.

    You can view the dissection live on Te Papa’s website from midday Wednesday.


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