Posts categorized as Colossal squid

What’s all this beak business?

You may have seen us removing and examining the beaks of the giant and smaller colossal squids yesterday, so we thought we’d give some background on cephalopod beaks and why they’re important. The beaks (one upper and one lower in all squid, octopus and their relatives) are the first stage of the squid’s digestive system… Read more »

Happy birthday Mark!

It’s Mark’s 30th birthday today – what a fantastic way to spend your birthday! If you’re watching SquidCam he’s the one in the tank. The bald one he called himself yesterday.

The largest invertebrate on the planet


The colossal squid – first described in the early 20th century – is known from about 11 specimens, of which only three or four are intact: most are fragments of arms or branchial crowns recovered from sperm whale stomachs. Te Papa, the Museum of New Zealand, has one complete subadult specimen in its collections, and… Read more »

Wednesday – what happens next


Wednesday morning we will be here from around 9 am when the final unfolding of the large colossal squid will take place. At present it is still frozen inside the centre of the cube and folded into several layers……. To give you some idea of the size, the smaller specimen on the dissection table weighs… Read more »

Colossal squid on TV!

New Zealand viewers – watch Close Up at 7pm on TV ONE Wednesday 30 April for a behind-the-scenes look at the defrosting and examination of the larger colossal squid. International viewers! The entire thaw and examination process is being filmed by Natural History New Zealand and will feature in an in-depth Discovery Channel documentary programme… Read more »

Colossal dissection (smaller specimen)

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The large colossal squid is thawing . . . meanwhile, we are currently setting up for the dissection this afternoon. The scientists will be dissecting the smaller, damaged colossal squid. The dissection table has had to be changed because the colossal squid is a lot wider than the giant squid we were looking at earlier. We’ve… Read more »

Colossal chromatophores


The skin of the colossal squid is considerably thicker than that of the giant squid. As shown in the photo the colossal squid skin has at least two layers, the outer one of which quite resembles that of Architeuthis (giant squid). The inner skin covering the muscles is gelatinous in nature and contains somewhat larger… Read more »

Lunch break

1.35pm: Not many people are there at the time, because scientists have to eat too… sometimes. We’ll be back with answers to your questions in about half an hour. At 3pm, the dissection will have a live commentary over the webcam. We have also added captions to camera 4 and will try to update them… Read more »

What’s the smell like?

A couple of people have asked what the smell is like in here – figuring it must smell pretty bad. Surprisingly the smell is not bad at all. It smells a bit like a clean fish shop. You know there are fishy specimens about but it is a fresh smell. The speicmens have all been… Read more »

Dissection of giant squid

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The dissection of the giant squid  – Steve O’Shea and Tsunemi Kubodera using the endoscope to examine the stomach to see if there are any contents before the specimen is cut open. This is the gill – we are injecting ink into the blood vessels to show them more clearly: Nidamental gland (arrow): This specimen… Read more »