Posts categorized as Colossal squid

The tank has arrived!

  • Planning angles: NHNZ film crew © Copyright Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, 2008
  • Planning filming angles . .
  • Anton Van Helden driving the forklift to get the tank into the autopsy room© Copyright Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, 2008
  • img_3183

Anton Van Helden driving the forklift to get the tank into the autopsy room – 3185 – © Copyright Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, 2008 After a couple of hours of waiting the tank has finally arrived – brought down from Palmerston North on a trailer. The plan is to get it into… Read more »

Formalin disposal

Preparing the pump

The formalin has been pumped out of the tank and the squid will be rinsed in fresh water before the lift on Wednesday. The specimen looks to be in good condition (considering!). The sucker rings and hooks are intact, so the buffering of the formalin solution worked well. The rip in the mantle is larger… Read more »


Glycol experiment - squid

Specimens in museum collections are usually preserved in a 70 per cent aqueous solution of ethyl alcohol or in a 2-4 per cent solution of formaldehyde (5-10 per cent formalin). The great disadvantages of ethyl alcohol are that it is flammable, it volatilizes very readily, it tends to produce precipitates from sea-water, and it causes… Read more »

Squidcam’s back!

Mark Fenwick with the lifting cradle

Squidcam’s back! We’re moving the colossal squid out of formalin and into its new display tank. Webcam viewing will be available live on Wednesday 6 August starting 9am NZ time (USA: Tuesday 2pm to 5pm, UK: Tuesday 10pm), for one day only. Check out the full programme on our website: Preparations are underway for… Read more »

Moving day!

proposed tank design from Caldwell Engineers

Construction of the new colossal squid display tank is almost complete, and we hope to transfer the squid into it on Wednesday 6th August. The design of a tank to safely store and display the specimen has presented Te Papa with a considerable challenge and we have been assisted by Wellman Associates Ltd in Hawera… Read more »

Australian giant squid dissection available online


On Thursday 17th of July, Melbourne Museum (Victoria, Australia), held its first ever public dissection by museum scientists of a giant squid.   The dissection  was performed in the Science and Life Gallery and the dissection was streamed live. A recording can be viewed here The squid which was accidentally caught in a fishing trawl off western Victoria, weighs around 245… Read more »

Hooks & suckers

  • Non-swivelling arm hooks
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  • Swivelling tentacle club hooks
  • Non-swivelling arm hooks

The hooks seem to grab everyone’s attention, so here’s an update Other squid families have hooks on the arms, or the tentacles, or both, but the colossal squid is the only hooked squid in its family (the Cranchiidae, about 20 species). It possesses hooks on each of the eight arms, and also on the club… Read more »

Getting tanked

Getting the colossal squid onto display isn’t just a simple matter of building a tank and moving it into the gallery! First of all we have to plan a few details – for example, because of the size of the tank and the amount of liquid it will contain, it will weigh over five tonnes,… Read more »

Does my mantle look big in this?

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… Read more »