A three-metre giant squid specimen washed up on a beach on Wellington’s South Coast yesterday (2nd April).
In comparison with our colossal squid it’s a bit small, but because it’s small it’s interesting! Find out about the difference between Colossal and Giant squid.
The squid was found in shallow water by Alana Spragg and her daughter Bella who managed to drag it onto the beach. At just 3m long the squid is one of the smallest we’ve seen: this means that it is either a rarely seen male , or an even more rarely seen juvenile.
Collection manager of molluscs at Te Papa, Bruce Marshall noted that out of the last 50 giant squid we have received; only one has been a male. The actual sex ratio is about 50:50, however, as collectors favour the larger the largest specimens, which are invariably females. Juvenile giant squid are also rare in New Zealand waters – we don’t know where they go after they hatch and before they return to the breeding areas off the South Island.
The giant squid has been put in a freezer and will eventually be preserved for display. It is in fantastic condition – It looks like it has probably only been dead for a couple of hours. Its skin is perfect and the eyes, tentacles and beak all appear to be intact. The preservation process will start in about two months, because the preparation laboratory at Te Papa is being renovated.
The squid was reported in this morning’s newspaper: