Skip to comments.World's biggest squid reveals 'beach ball' eyes
Posted on 04/30/2008 1:23:18 PM PDT by NormsRevenge
WELLINGTON (AFP) - The largest squid ever caught began to reveal its secrets Wednesday, including beach ball-sized eyes that scientists said were the biggest known in the animal kingdom.
The 495-kilogram (1,090-pound) colossal squid -- accidentally caught by a fishing boat in Antarctic waters in February 2007 -- is slowly thawing under the fascinated gaze of a team of scientists at the Museum of New Zealand.
While defrosting took longer than expected Wednesday, one of the earliest revelations were eyes measuring 27 centimetres (11 inches) across with lenses of 10 to 12 centimetres in diameter.
In comparison, a human eye measures around one inch, less than a tenth the size.
"We saw two of the most sensational eyes possible," Auckland University of Technology marine biologist Steve O'Shea told journalists.
Professor Eric Warrant of the University of Lund in Sweden, said the eyes had shrunk after the squid was frozen.
The live animal would have had eyes measuring about 40 centimetres across, "about the size of a beach ball."
These would help the squid to locate prey in the dark of its habitat 1,000 metres (3,300 feet) or more below the surface of Antarctic waters, he said.
Auckland University of Technology scientist Kat Bolstad told reporters the eyes were "the biggest eyes ever recorded in the animal kingdom."
The scientists were surprised to find the squid was shorter than they had expected at 4.2 metres when it thawed enough to be laid out.
Museum project manager Chris Paulin said the length of mantle, or trunk of the body, was comparable to a specimen found in 2003. But the latest squid is 195 kilograms heavier, he said in a blog on the museum's website following the examination.
"The two long tentacles that the fishermen observed have shortened and shrunken considerably post mortem, giving a final total length of 4.2 metres," he said.
Those tentacles carry up to 25 rotating hooks each, while eight arms each contain up to 19 fixed hooks used to capture prey and bring it to the squid's beaked mouth.
O'Shea and his colleagues believe larger squid still lurk in the southern ocean depths.
The squid's lower beak measures around 40 centimetres across, while other beaks have been found -- usually in the stomach of predator sperm whales -- measuring up to 49 centimetres.
O'Shea said it is possible that colossal squid (Mesonychoteuthis hamiltoni) may grow to up to 750 kilograms but there was not yet enough information to be sure.
"When I said in 2003 that colossal squid could grow to 500 kilograms no one believed me, I was ridiculed, people laughed at me," he said.
The scientists are now trying to probe the squid to find out what its last meal was, according to the website.
The progress of the examination is being shown by webcams on the museum's website www.tepapa.govt.nz
Is that something like “Bette Davis Eyes”??
LOL... urrr, Yeah.
Im on a dang spanish keyboard in Cabo or Id post a pic.. definitely big uns.
No, really, you know what I love most about them?
Nancy Pelosi will be having them surgically inserted into her head next week.
Same here. That drives me bonkers!
CABO!?! And you didn’t invite ME??
Heheh. Have a great time. And watch out for those monster squids.
that would make one heck of a calamari feed,
we,re headed for san fran after days at sea,, Im ready to go home.. I think I gained a pound at most.
I wanted to post a pic but these dang spanish keyboards are a nightmare to figure out some of the characters and such.. the multiple beers has nothing to do with it.. lol
“Here’s looking at you.”
A while back I read that whalers reported that some sperm whales bore sucker marks that were as big as dinner plates. Scientists extrapolated the length but I forgot how big their estimate was. In any event, I wouldn't want to be in the water when one of those things got near the surface (think chunks of bread in a goldfish pond).
OMG is that ever freaky. That eye almost looks human!
I wondered how many posts before this one showed up. Love it.
And their bloodshot too.
Spanish keyboard!? A likely story!
Barney Frank has sucker marks? Oh.... you mean the other type of Sperm Whale, my bad.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.