Many people have asked us why the colossal squid specimen was so much smaller than anticipated when we thawed it. Initial reports suggested that the specimen was considerably larger than the final measurement of 4.2 metres in total length. We suspected that the specimen had shrunk (rather than the size beingRead more

With less than a month to go until our squid meets her adoring fans, there is still much to be done behind the scenes, not least of which is trying to figure out the best way of getting a 2.5 tonne display tank – squid included – from its storageRead more

Almost 250 objects and images related to World War I held by Te Papa can now be viewed on online. Curators have chosen items with sentimental value or connected to the home front and the war’s aftermath in New Zealand, as well as those associated directly with the conflict andRead more

I’m one of the Botany Curators at Te Papa, and ferns are one of my specialties.  New Zealand has about 200 native ferns, and some of them are very rare.  We recently rediscovered one rare fern that had been ‘lost’.  I was beginning to wonder if it had become extinct,Read more

Work is underway preparing the mounting system for the colossal squid in its display tank. Unless the squid is supported by acrylic mounts it will remain a collapsed heap on the bottom of the tank – not very appealling! To display it in as realistic pose as possible a seriesRead more

As part of our exhibition we want to ‘bring the squid to life’. So we’re developing an animation to give you an idea of how the squid lives and how it swims.  Only problem is– nobody has ever seen a live colossal squid swimming, so nobody knew what it would look like! SoRead more

It’s a lovely spring Friday morning in Wellington. What else would we (Pamela, Chris and Judy – our brave and newest squid team member) be doing other than dissecting a couple of nice fresh squid from the local wholesale fish supplier? It’s all in the interest of bringing you a bigger andRead more

Bioluminescence (light produced by living animals or plants) is common among squid – it is estimated that two-thirds of all squid genera contain bioluminescent (light producing) species. Light production using photophores (special light producing structures) can be found nearly anywhere on the body of some squid species: the most common ones are:Read more

The squid has been stitched as much as we can – Steve describes it as trying to sew two blocks of butter together. As we re-fill the tank with the glycol mixture we are placing bags filled with water to spread the mantle out and give it some support. BeingRead more

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 precipitatesRead more

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,Read more

So I’m at my desk when my cell rings – its Anton (you know – our Collection Manager Marine Mammals)… “Do you wanna see a dead whale?” Of course! So off I trot (nice and quicksmart in time with whatever’s playing on my MP3) – not even worrying about whatRead more