Colossal Squid Facts
Not much is known about this large sea creature that can be found living in the cold waters along Antarctica, New Zealand and some areas of Africa. The colossal squid (Mesonychoteuthis hamiltoni) lives in deep waters, usually more than 3,000 feet, making it hard to collect data on it. Juveniles, however, can be found closer to the surface, making them easier to observe.
It was not too long ago when the colossal squid was first identified. It was in 1925 when two tentacles were found in the stomach of a sperm whale. Much information has been gathered on this squid from the stomachs of its predators. The first live colossal squid was captured in 1981.
The back of the squid is a large fin. Connected to the fin is the mantle, funnel, head, arms, tentacles and tentacle clubs. In 2007, the largest colossal squid ever to be caught was captured by fishermen in Antarctica's Ross Sea. It was about 14 feet long and weighed almost 1100 pounds. Its eyes were huge, about 10 inches in diameter. The colossal squid is believed to have the largest eyes of all animals. The body of this enormous squid can be found at Te Papa Tongarewa, New Zealand's national museum in Wellington.
Unlike the giant squid, the colossal has sharp hooks on its arms and tentacles. The hooks on the arms differ from those on the tentacles. The hooks on the tentacles can swivel 360 to 720 degrees. This helps the squid to latch onto its prey. It is unknown whether the squid can control swiveling the hooks. The hooks on the arms are three-pointed and do not swivel.
The colossal squid is stouter and heavier than the giant squid, but the giant is believed to be longer than the colossal – the colossal's mantle is longer, but the tentacles are shorter.
There is not much known about this squid's behavior, but it is thought that they are loners, and they fight if attacked by sperm whales. This belief is because of the scars found on the sperm whale's backs, which appear to be caused by the colossal squid' s hooks.
They are known to eat large fish, like the Patagonian toothfish, by chewing off chunks and swallowing the pieces. They are also believed to eat other squid.
There are few facts available about the reproduction of the colossal squid. The male is known to have a penis, and it is believed that their reproduction is similar to that of the Teuthowenia pellucida (googly-eyed glass squid), a related species which lay eggs.
It is not known how long a colossal squid lives, and scientists are unsure of how many exist. Although they are known to have predators like the sperm whale, loss of habitat and man does not appear to be a threat to these wonderful creatures. Therefore, their conservation status is believed to be stable.