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

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

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

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 ends of the two long tentacles,Read more

We just found the ovaries – the specimen is a girl! Here’s an image from the microscope video (x150) – showing a bunch of eggs….the ovaries are full of several thousands of eggs!Read more

My name is Prof. Eric Warrant from the University of Lund in Sweden (blonde hair, blue glasses), and I am here together with Prof. Dan Nilsson (also from Lund) to study the gigantic eyes of the colossal squid. These are truly amazing eyes – in the collapsed state we seeRead more

  As the specimen is still folded in a block we are using an underwater camera to determine how the specimen is positioned. The camera revealed the eye! The eye is HUGE! The lens alone is 50 mm across, but we won’t be able to get an exact measurement untilRead more

The hooks seem to grab everyone’s attention (pun intended). 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 alsoRead more

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 stageRead more

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 subadultRead more

Mark Fenwick and Kat Bolstad are in the tank carefully cutting the landing net away from the thawing squid. Fortunately the squid is still partially frozen and is floating, which makes the task much easier. The beak of the colossal squid has been exposed as the flesh thaws. Preliminary measurementRead more