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The Giant Squid

Updated on October 17, 2014

Giant Squid Ahoy!

A creature of mythology, finally proved to exist, the Giant Squid has captivated the imaginations of human beings for centuries.

Hopefully, this lens will prove to be a great resource for anybody who wants to learn a little bit more about this fantastic creature. Welcome!

(Photo Source: Greenpeace.org)

The Giant Squid
The Giant Squid

(Photo by Torley)

Giant Squid and Sperm Whale
Giant Squid and Sperm Whale

Giant Squid - Giants of the Deep

They Get HOW Big?

Giant squid, once believed to be mythical creatures, are squid of the Architeuthidae family, represented by as many as eight species of the genus Architeuthis.

These massive creatures dwell in the deep ocean and can grow to an extreme size. The most current estimates of their maximum size ranges from 34 feet (10 meters) for males and 44 feet (13 meters) for females, when measured from the caudal fin to the tip of the two long tentacles.

Giant squid are second in size only to the Colossal Squid, which at an estimated 46 feet in length is one of the largest living things on earth. There have been claims of giant squid sightings of sizes up to approximately 66 feet long, but none of these has been scientifically documented.

The first images of a live giant squid in its natural habitat where taken on September 30, 2004 by researchers from the National Science Museum of Japan in conjunction with the Ogasawara Whale Watching Association. The images taken on that day, more than 500 of them, were not released until a year later.

Although giant squid have great length, they're not particularly heavy because most of their length is taken up by their arms and tentacles. Their weights have been measured in the hundreds of kilograms, while their primary predator, the Sperm Whale, have weights in the thousands of kilograms.

(Photo Credit: Ryan Somma)

Giant Squid
Giant Squid

Giant Squid Reproduction

Birds Do It, Bees Do It...

The reproductive cycle of the giant squid has not yet been well-documented. It is known, however, that male giant squid have a prehensile penis-like organ of over 3 feet (90 cm) in length, extending from the mantle.

Scientists believe that the organ is used to inject sperm-containing "packages" into the female squid's arms. It is not presently known exactly how the sperm is then transferred to the female's egg mass.

(Photo Credit: EOL.org)

Read About the Giant Squid

Outside and Inside Giant Squid (Outside and Inside (Walker & Company))
Outside and Inside Giant Squid (Outside and Inside (Walker & Company))

Everything you've ever wanted to know about the Giant Squid is contained right here! As the title says - "inside and out!"

 
The Incredible Hunt for the Giant Squid (Incredible Deep-Sea Adventures)
The Incredible Hunt for the Giant Squid (Incredible Deep-Sea Adventures)

Learn more about the mysterious Giant Squid and what scientists are doing to learn more about it.

 
Here There Be Monsters: The Legendary Kraken and the Giant Squid
Here There Be Monsters: The Legendary Kraken and the Giant Squid

"Here There Be Monsters" combines reports of the latest scientific discoveries, historical accounts of the infamous "kraken", and literary references to this most mysterious beast.

 
Giant Squid: Mystery of the Deep (All Aboard Science Reader: Station Level 3)
Giant Squid: Mystery of the Deep (All Aboard Science Reader: Station Level 3)

Written in conjunction with The American Museum of Natural History, this book provides not only an incredible look at the giant squid and cephalopods in general.

 
Animals of the Ocean: In Particular the Giant Squid (The Haggis-On-Whey World of Unbelievable Brilliance)
Animals of the Ocean: In Particular the Giant Squid (The Haggis-On-Whey World of Unbelievable Brilliance)

Animals of the Ocean advances many heretofore unexplored discoveries and opinions, including squid dating dos and don'ts, why squid are not at all able to watch television in black and white, the ways in which people who don't know any better might think fish are not animals, the long-term effects of salt water on musical theater, and also the adventure of Gunther.

 
Giant Squid Suck Marks on Sperm Whale Skin
Giant Squid Suck Marks on Sperm Whale Skin

More Giant Squid Interesting Facts

Eyes and Arms and Bladders, Oh My!

One of the most captivating features of the giant squid is its giant eyes! The giant squid has the largest eyes of any known living creature except perhaps the Colossal squid. A giant squid's eye measures over 1 foot (30 cm) in diameter. That's about the size of a dinner plate!

The arms of the giant squid are covered with hundreds of suction cups. Each suction cup is mounted on an individual stalk-like appendage, and has a ring of extraordinariliy sharp "teeth" around it's circumferance. These cups are generally 1 - 2 inches (2 - 5 cm) in diameter, and allow the squids to capture prey by firmly attaching itself via both suction and perforation.

These suction cup "weapons" are so strong that it is not unusual for scientists to find circular scars caused by these suckers on the head area of sperm whales, which are their primary predator! It is interesting to note that because sperm whales are so good at finding giant squid on which to feed, biologists have in the past conducted in-depth observations of sperm whale feeding and migration patterns in order to study the giant squid.

Giant squid don't have a gas-filled "swim bladder" as fish have in order to give them more buoyancy in the water. Instead, it has been found that the presence of ammonium chloride in the fluid of their flesh performs this function for them. This substance gives the squid's flesh a bad taste for humans - but evidently not for the sperm whales!

(Photo Credit: Public Domain/Wikimedia Commons)

Giant Squid
Giant Squid

Giant Squid Scientific Classification

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Mollusca

Class: Cephalopoda

Subclass: Coleoidea

Order: Teuthida

Suborder: Oegopsina

Family: Architeuthidae

Genus: Architeuthis

(Photo Credit: National Archives)

Giant Squid in Mythology
Giant Squid in Mythology

Giant Squid in Mythology

Let Loose the Kraken!

Since the times of the ancient mariners there have been stories about the giant squid!

It is thought that these stories are likely to have led to the Norwegian legend of the "Kraken," a huge tentacles sea monster that is as large as an island and able to engulf and sink a large sailing vessel.

The first person to describe the giant squid, Japetus Steenstrup, suggested that this creature may be the species that had been described as a "sea monk" to the Danish King Christian III around the year 1550.

The "Lusca" of Caribbean mythology and the "Scylla" of Greek mythology may also have been based upon sightings of the giant squid. Additionally, other sea monster myths, like the "sea serpent," are also thought to be based on this animal.

(Photo Credit: Public Domain/Wikimedia Commons)

Alecton Giant Squid
Alecton Giant Squid

Giant Squid Mystery

Why the Mass Strandings?

Japetus Steenstrup wrote extensively about the giant squid in the 1850s. He was the first to use the term "Architeuthis" for the creater in an 1857 paper.

In 1861 a French gunboat, the Alecton was able to obtain a portion of a giant squid, leading to increased acceptance and recognition of this species by the scientific community.

In the decade between 1870 and 1880 there were a large numbers of "strandings" of giant squids on the shores of Newfoundland. Additionally, there were also many strandings on the shores of New Zealand during the late 1800's.

Although some strandings continue to the present, there has not been a repeat of these giant "mass strandings." The exact cause or causes of these strandings is unknown, although it is believed by many scientists that they may be cyclical, although the time between cycles is not yet known.

A giant squid specialist, Frederick Aldrich, as proposed an average period of 90 years between mass strandings, but as of now the causes and timing of strandings is still considered a mystery.

(Picture Credit: Public Domain/ Wikipedia Commons)

Giant Squid Live Photo
Giant Squid Live Photo

The First Images of a Live Squid!

Say Cheese!

On September 30, 2004, Tsunemi Kubodera (National Science Museum of Japan) and Kyoichi Mori (Ogasawara Whale Watching Association) succeeded in taking history's first images of a live giant squid. Accomplishing this task took their teams almost two years of searching for the elusive squid. Ultimately, on their third expedition to a Sperm Whale hunting ground 600 miles south of Tokyo, they dropped a 3,000 foot line baited with squid and shrimp. Attached to the line was a camera and a flash.

Twenty tries later that day they were rewarded when a 26-foot giant squid took the bait and hooked its tentacle. During the four+ hours it took the squid to free itself from the line, the camera took more than 500 photos - the first images ever taken of a live giant squid in its natural habitat. During its struggle, the giant squid lost one of its 18-foot tentacles, and the scientists were able to take DNA from that appendage and use it to confirm that the animal was in fact a giant squid.

Almost a year later, on September 27, 2005, the photos were released to the world at large.

(Photo Credit: FloryDance)

Giant Squid Specimen in Melbourne, Australia
Giant Squid Specimen in Melbourne, Australia

We've Got Squid!

Check Out These Specimens

Several months after the first live giant squid photos were released, the Melbourne Aquarium in Australia paid AUD$100,000 for an intact body of a giant squid preserved in a giant block of ice. Researchers then worked very carefully preserved the animal. It took four days to properly thaw the squid, after which they injected it with a formol-saline solution to prevent it from rotting. This preserved speciment now rests in a 30-foot (9 cm) long glass tank which is filled with a preservative solution.

In early 2006 a trawler off the coast of the Falkland Island caught a giant squid that measured in at 26 feet (8.62 meters). This specimen was sent to the Natural History Museum in London for research and preservation.

(Photo Credit: Fir0002)

Watch Some Giant Squid

Let's Talk Giant Squid! - Leave a Comment Here

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    • retrochalet profile image

      Cindy Fahnestock-Schafer 3 years ago from Hedgesville, WV

      Great lens! They are huge beasts!

    • CampingmanNW profile image

      CampingmanNW 4 years ago

      Excellent job and nice research. Gian Squids have been seen and now found in many places in the world. Thanks for a fun read today

    • dwnovacek profile image
      Author

      dwnovacek 4 years ago

      @SavioC: I'm happy you got some enjoyment - and a laugh - from the lens! :)

    • SavioC profile image

      SavioC 4 years ago

      I saw the title and thought it was lens of how become a Giant Squid on Squidoo. I smiled as I was reading it. Had seen about this on Discovery channel some time back. Lovely sharing with a catchy title.

    • happy-birthday profile image

      Birthday Wishes 4 years ago from Here

      Wonderful lens!!! You deserved that purple star! Thanks for sharing.

    • profile image

      TanoCalvenoa 4 years ago

      This lens is a must on Squidoo.

    • profile image

      Aunt-Mollie 4 years ago

      They are definitely strange animals. I never realized how big they could be!

    • jayavi profile image

      jayavi 4 years ago

      Nice Lens. nicely arrange. thanks for sharing

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      The giant squid is HUGE!!!!!!

    • TolovajWordsmith profile image

      Tolovaj Publishing House 4 years ago from Ljubljana

      Giant squids are always special:)

    • Doogsy82 profile image

      Doogsy82 4 years ago

      The giant squid is most certainly an interesting sea creature.

    • Digory LM profile image

      Digory LM 4 years ago

      Thanks for the lens. Quite interesting.

    • profile image

      pinoyrecipe 4 years ago

      you had a lot of facts about giant squid here. I've enjoyed reading your articles.

    • SarahPorter LM profile image

      SarahPorter LM 4 years ago

      Really nice and interesting. Looks like you did lots of work creating this! Thanks

    • Gypzeerose profile image

      Rose Jones 4 years ago

      Really enjoyed this terrific lens. It was so well researched and yet no dry. I didn't realize Giant Squids were so amazing. Pinned onto my "just for squids" board, sent out by digg, linked as related to my own lens - https://hubpages.com/community/squidoo-crazy and blessed.

    • oktoys profile image

      oktoys 4 years ago

      Interesting Squid lens.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      This is great, thank you for your sharing, I really like them. :)

    • profile image

      mgabrovec 4 years ago

      great lens, thanks for sharing

    • profile image

      myspace9 4 years ago

      Very beautifu squids, nice lens.

    • askformore lm profile image

      askformore lm 4 years ago

      Thank you for the squid information!

    • profile image

      mstcourtjester 4 years ago

      It wasn't exactly the Big Squid Like I was looking for, but very informative. Nice lens :)

    • PhoneGuru LM profile image

      PhoneGuru LM 5 years ago

      I suppose there is a difference between the giant squid and squid giants, eh? Great lens!

    • profile image

      TopFiveBestDeals 5 years ago

      Great images here, and really fascinating stuff... nice lens.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Like to read about them quite a bit.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      this lens is comprehensive and contain all the information about this creature.. i am reading about giant squid first time.. good work!

    • srsddn lm profile image

      srsddn lm 5 years ago

      Great lens. I could not imagine the contents util I went through intro and a little further. Thanks for sharing all this.

    • LittleLindaPinda profile image

      Little Linda Pinda 5 years ago from Florida

      WOW, I didn't know it took until 2004 to get the first photo of a live giant squid. They are more elusive than I realized.

    • tonybonura profile image

      Tony Bonura 5 years ago from Tickfaw, Louisiana

      Loved your lens about the giant squid. It must be a very shy creature.

      TonyB

    • indigomoth profile image

      indigomoth 5 years ago from New Zealand

      I love squids. Such fascinating creatures.

    • dwnovacek profile image
      Author

      dwnovacek 5 years ago

      @DeannaDiaz: It does, indeed! :) Love me some squid!

    • DeannaDiaz profile image

      DeannaDiaz 5 years ago

      Awesome lens! Does this mean you are a real life squid lover!?

    • profile image

      VatsalMakhija 5 years ago

      Ha ha :D I came here looking for information on the Giant Squids program. Am wondering how much I'd benefit from a SquidLike by a real giant squid.

    • tonybonura profile image

      Tony Bonura 5 years ago from Tickfaw, Louisiana

      Interesting. I saw a couple of giant squids, but they were in movies. Keep up the good work. Loved your lens!! TonyB

    • profile image

      crimsontide2010 5 years ago

      Congrats on your squidoo progress!!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Lots of information if you're about to go squid hunting. Thanks for taking the time to put it together.

    • Maggie749 profile image

      Marjorie Chaddock 5 years ago from Hurst,TX 76053

      Congrats on your purple star. This is an interesting lens. Thanks for sharing with us.

    • profile image

      cmadden 5 years ago

      Fascinating!

    • DanMoriarity LM profile image

      DanMoriarity LM 5 years ago

      Very nice lens! Lots of interesting info on the no longer so mythical Giant Squid! :o)

    • besttechgadgets profile image

      besttechgadgets 5 years ago

      Wow... what an impressive lens! Smart to write about something that eventually ALL of us might search for here! Brilliant... thumbs up!

    • Craftypicks profile image

      Lori Green 5 years ago from Las Vegas

      That was a really cool video. The technology was great.

    • Millionairemomma profile image

      Millionairemomma 5 years ago

      Oh my gosh, how utterly creative! Congrats on achieving giant squid.

    • Spiderlily321 profile image

      Spiderlily321 5 years ago

      Congrats on the purple star and thanks for sharing this excellent lens full of really cool information on giant squids

    • profile image

      gradientcat 5 years ago

      "High five", I love the photos in this lens of the giant squid.

    • DrBillSmithWriter profile image

      William Leverne Smith 5 years ago from Hollister, MO

      Thanks for sharing. ;-)

    • BestRatedStuff profile image

      BestRatedStuff 5 years ago

      Awesome info, enjoyed your lens.

    • biminibahamas profile image

      biminibahamas 5 years ago

      Those giant squids are sure scary, I'm not sure I'd like to see one up close. I'd rather have some nice calamari on my plate.

    • LittleLindaPinda profile image

      Little Linda Pinda 5 years ago from Florida

      Wow, and some people eat them too.

    • virtualboy profile image

      virtualboy 5 years ago

      I didn't know that Giant Squids had such big eyes. makes sense though.. nice lens

    • SheGetsCreative profile image

      Angela F 5 years ago from Seattle, WA

      Not my favorite ocean creature to view up close, but they are fascinating.

    • dom2 profile image

      dom2 5 years ago

      Nice lens.

    • profile image

      Auto-Nationals 5 years ago

      It can keep the ocean, I'm good on land, yikes!

    • Scotties-Rock profile image

      Clairissa 5 years ago from OREFIELD, PA

      Great information about Giant Squids.

    • MelonyVaughan profile image

      MelonyVaughan 5 years ago

      Great lens! It's possible that giant (and I mean giant!) squid exist at least hundreds of meters below sea level. The vast majority of our oceans is unexplored and the deeper you go, the stranger and bigger the creatures get!

    • retrochalet profile image

      Cindy Fahnestock-Schafer 5 years ago from Hedgesville, WV

      I really like this lens, and I'm traumatized by the way the whale in the movie sends sonar or clicking noises out to the fish. I really need to brush up on my marine biology. Super cool. I did see the Kyoichi Mori special on them, really something spectacular.

    • favored profile image

      Fay Favored 5 years ago from USA

      Very informative article and a good tool for the classroom. Well deserved purple star award.

    • profile image

      BestLaminateInc1 5 years ago

      Very entertaining lens! Video library is awesome. Great job!

    • Gabriel360 profile image

      Gabriel360 5 years ago

      Great lens! The video of the Sperm Whale vs. The Giant Squid was awesome!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      thanks for the information. Well done.

    • Ribolov LM profile image

      Ribolov LM 5 years ago

      Nice lens, and I hope that one day I will also bee the Giant Squid. ;)

    • tvyps profile image

      Teri Villars 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      You are absolutely correct! We can't have Squidoo without a lens on the Giant Squid! Blessed!

    • FreakyV profile image

      FreakyV 5 years ago from Canada

      Great information about these monsters from the deep. Thanks for sharing.

    • sousababy profile image

      sousababy 5 years ago

      I am fascinated by giant squids - I'd love to examine their eyes. What a wonderful lens and so fitting for Squidoo. Good to see a purple star on this, belated congrats!

    • olecrAN0N LM profile image

      olecrAN0N LM 5 years ago

      Thank you for the lens! I think the purple star was well-deserved.

      I live in Newfoundland, where there have been more than 100 giant squid sightings over the last two centuries. I used to work in a marine interpretation centre, and guess what: we had two preserved giant squid! One male, and one female. They weren't gigantic by giant squid standards: the female was largest at 12 feet. But they certainly were big.

      Have a nice day!

    • flicker lm profile image

      flicker lm 5 years ago

      Fascinating lens! I enjoyed it. Thanks!

    • hirephp lm profile image

      hirephp lm 5 years ago

      it's a very big squid

    • profile image

      mediawizard lm 5 years ago

      This Squid was BIG, so it's true Monster Squids do exists

    • nickirc lm profile image

      nickirc lm 5 years ago

      Wow very interesting, thanks.

    • davidleetong lm profile image

      davidleetong lm 5 years ago

      Haha. love the lens :D

    • Pam Irie profile image

      Pam Irie 5 years ago from Land of Aloha

      haha I'm one of those people, but was still fascinated to read about real squids. Aren't they magnificent?

    • williemack58 profile image

      williemack58 5 years ago

      Great lens, I loved the video. I have seen this fascinating creature showcased on National Geographic.

    • profile image

      Donnette Davis 5 years ago from South Africa

      The images are fantastic - a beautiful lens... thank you

    • LeCordonDude profile image

      LeCordonDude 5 years ago

      ARCHITEUTHIS!!

    • GoAceNate LM profile image

      GoAceNate LM 5 years ago

      Wow cool lens. Reminds me of the prehistoric fish that swam into the shallows in Japan to die a few years ago.

    • WildWilliams profile image

      WildWilliams 5 years ago

      You have some great pictures in your lens, yet I still find them unimaginable.

    • profile image

      Buchamar 5 years ago

      I love all sea life and sometimes the dolphins dance along with me when I walk on the beach!

    • dwnovacek profile image
      Author

      dwnovacek 5 years ago

      @manicnymph: Thank you for pointing out the type - I did, indeed, mean "suction!" So glad you enjoyed the lens!

    • manicnymph profile image

      manicnymph 5 years ago

      Great lens!!! Thumbs up! I have always been a fan of squids (octopi and cuttlefish), and especially their language - the fact that they communicate by lighting up or changing colours is fascinating! This means I absolutely refuse to eat these creatures and always have. How can people eat such a fascinating and intelligent animal??

      I think I found a small typo on your lens though? Where you said "firmly attaching itself via both section and perforation" I think you meant 'suction and perforation'... :)

    • DebiJones LM profile image

      Debi Jones 5 years ago from Coeur d'Alene, Idaho

      Well done lens!! Lots of information! Congrats on Purple Star Award!

    • SoniaCarew profile image

      SoniaCarew 5 years ago

      Very informative albeit a tit bit creepy.

    • BobZau profile image

      Bob Zau 5 years ago

      Great Squid info

    • yourselfempowered profile image

      Odille Rault 5 years ago from Gloucester

      Had to pop back and bless this one! :)

    • profile image

      redleafloans 6 years ago

      Congrats on being a Giant Squid...:) Hope I become a giant squid someday too...:)

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      What an ideal choice for a topic on Squidoo considering.

    • yourselfempowered profile image

      Odille Rault 6 years ago from Gloucester

      What a fascinating topic! I didn't realise these were only actually photographed for the first time in 2004! Really interesting stuff here - I'm one of those who, at first, thought the lens was about the Squidoo Giant Squid... and then found the subject so interesting I stayed and enjoyed it all anyway. :)

    • Lee Nitus profile image

      Lee Nitus 6 years ago

      what a fun lens! Thanks for pulling it together!

    • CanHealthInsure profile image

      CanHealthInsure 6 years ago

      Congratulations on becoming a Giant Squid!

    • studyaids profile image

      Steve Jones 6 years ago from Birmingham UK

      Fascinating to say the least...

    • wheresthekarma profile image

      wheresthekarma 6 years ago

      You know Im addicted to Squidoo when i see the title and think, oh she must be talking about how to become a Giant Squid! LOL

    • anupma lm profile image

      anupma lm 6 years ago

      Very informative lense. After reading the lense i come to know what really giant squid is? Thanks for sharing.

    • profile image

      CrazyPirate 6 years ago

      Always interested in reading about the giant squid. Much obliged for the squid lens.

    • Diana Wenzel profile image

      Renaissance Woman 6 years ago from Colorado

      Fascinating! It would really be something to experience a giant squid in the wild. Wow. Thanks for teaching me more about this tremendously interesting creature. Appreciated!

    • profile image

      ThomasJ4 LM 6 years ago

      Ah, the mysterious giant squid... I can't believe their eyes can reach up to 1 foot! That is amazing. But as inhabitants of the deep dark sea, I guess they need that extra eye power.

    • profile image

      Deeksha 6 years ago

      After reading this I could know the actual meaning of gaint squid now.

    • ellagis profile image

      ellagis 6 years ago

      I guess it must be frightening to meet a giant squid in the middle of the ocean.... could you imagine it?

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      I'm amazed when reading about oceanic stuff, glad I browsed upon your lens! If you like to browse lens as I do, mine has a great educational topic with poll questions for my readers to enjoy.

    • franstan lm profile image

      franstan lm 6 years ago

      Amazing lens. I do like Calamari, but not any other squid dishes.

    • profile image

      TampaFLAttractions 6 years ago

      Creepy, but very interesting :)

    • anaamhussain profile image

      anaamhussain 6 years ago

      wow! very exciting!

    • TeacherRenee profile image

      TeacherRenee 6 years ago

      So appropriate for squidoo... great lens!

    • doors4home profile image

      Doors4Home 6 years ago from Austin, TX

      Nice. The National Geographic special I watched didn't even cover this amount of information. I am glad to hear they finally found proof of them.