Posts tagged with Colossal squid

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 »

Hooks & suckers

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  • 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 »

Colossal squid – what’s happening?

What’s happening with the colossal squid? Why haven’t we put it on display yet? Well the short answer is that good things take time – and money. While the specimen is happily sitting in its storage tank, slowly preserving in the formalin, the squid team is planning for the next stage – how to put… Read more »

Lectures available

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Two of the lectures from the Te Papa squid lecture series are now available online: Dr Steve O’Shea Squid: Small, Giant, and Colossal Dr Eric Warrant and Dr Dan-Eric Nilsson: The Weird and Wonderful Eyes of Animals Who Live in the Dark and the Deep Sea     We will unfortunately not be… Read more »

Some more pictures of the Colossal Squid

Steve O'Shea, Tsunemi Kubodera injecting formalin

You can see a whole lot more photos of the squid in our Picture Library on the Te Papa website. These photos were taken by one of Te Papa’s photographers, Norman Heke. He was there the whole time taking some beautiful shots. We’ve put over 70 photos up online but there are loads more than… Read more »

The fix is in


Here we are adding formalin to the storage tank to bring the concentration up to 5%. The formalin is then buffered to stop any acidity corroding the hooks of the specimen. A plastic liner is placed over the top of the tank before the wooden lid is replaced. Finally the pH (acidity) is checked –… Read more »