Colossal squids, scientifically known as Mesonychoteuthis hamiltoni, are cryptic behemoths, reigning as the largest among all cephalopods. Dwelling in the Southern Ocean at depths exceeding 1,000 meters (around 3,300 feet), these colossal creatures rarely grace our sight. Their imposing dimensions can reach up to a staggering 14 meters (about 46 feet) in total length, boasting mantle lengths of up to 4 meters (around 13 feet) and tipping the scales at an astonishing 495 kilograms (approximately 1,091 pounds).
In 2007, an extraordinary event unfolded when fishermen aboard the vessel San Aspiring hoisted the largest-known Colossal squid specimen to date. Join us as we delve into the astonishing research conducted by squid biology specialists from Auckland University of Technology, who examined this remarkable find now housed at Te Papa Museum.
This remarkable journey takes us to the freezing Antarctic waters of the Ross Sea, where in 2007, a team of experts laid eyes on the largest-known Colossal squid. Their examination, undertaken in 2008, revealed a creature brought to the surface while preying on an Antarctic toothfish caught on a long line.
What sets the Colossal squid apart is its claim to the largest eyes in the animal kingdom, perhaps even the largest eyes ever to grace our planet. Each eye spans a remarkable 27 centimeters across, akin to the size of a dinner plate or a basketball.
The intrigue doesn’t end there. Colossal squid eyes are equipped with built-in light organs called photophores, granting them the enchanting ability of bioluminescence. Moreover, these giants possess forward-facing eyes, affording them binocular vision and the precious gift of depth perception.