How many colossal squid specimens are there in the world? And how many of these are on display? How good do they look?
The answer to the first question is probably four, and the answer to the next question, is none – at the moment. The display of Te Papa’s colossal squid specimen is going to be the first – as far as we know. But if you know of one that is already on display, please tell us!
‘How good do they look?’ This creates more questions – what sort of tank do we make to display our colossal squid in? How do we make it look good?
So we thought we’d have a look around the internet at other displays of big squid and get some help. We found quite a few giant squid – all in various states of display, some still looking glamorous, others not so good. If you’ve got a picture of your favourite big squid on display somewhere, please share it with us.
Meet ‘Archie’ (Architeuthis is the genus name for a giant squid), the 8.62 metre long giant squid on display in the Darwin Centre of the Natural History Museum in London.
At the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History in Washington DC, they’ve had a giant squid on display in a tank in their ‘Ocean Planet’ exhibit for qutie a few years. This specimen was washed ashore off Massachusetts in 1980. http://seawifs.gsfc.nasa.gov/OCEAN_PLANET/HTML/squid_Architeuthis.html
The search for a giant squid in New Zealand waters was also the subject of their exhibition Search for Giant Squid. http://www.mnh.si.edu/natural_partners/squid4/
It makes really interesting reading. Our New Zealand squid expert, Dr Steve O’Shea, was part of the expedition. It was Steve who lead the team at Te Papa when the colossal squid was examined in April.
Closer to home, there are giant squid on display in Australia. A New Zealand giant squid was put on show in a block of ice at the Melbourne Aquarium in 2005 and looked really impressive!
Here in New Zealand you can see a giant squid at Kelly Tarlton’s. Staff there nicknamed it ‘Squid Vicious’. http://www.nzherald.co.nz/section/1/story.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10402608
Another, called ‘Maximum’, is at the National Aquarium of New Zealand in Napier.
We have to remember with our display tank that colossal squid are a different shape to giant squid – they have a much bigger, rounder body and the tentacles are shorter. Think fat and round, like a soccer ball, rather than the long cylinder shape and impressively long tentacles of its cousin, the giant squid. How would Trinnie and Susannah describe these body shapes, I wonder…
You can order see this picture here
So if you’ve got a picture of your favourite big squid on display somewhere, or want to tell us about seeing one on display, please share it with us!