Giant squids, even relatively small ones, are big news in New York these days. The American Museum of Natural History in Manhattan hosted the arrival of a 25-foot giant squid carcass in June, affording American scientists a first glimpse at an intact specimen.
Squid scientists were elated by the delivery of the squid, which was brought up from the depths by New Zealand fishermen and donated to the museum by the New Zealand government. Little is known about the mysterious creatures, including how large they can be (at least 60 feet), how old they live to be, or the depth of their habitat. Several squids have been found deeper than 2,000 feet. The slippery, cone-shaped invertebrates (Architeuthis) have long been depicted in nautical mythology as potentially aggressive monsters that only occasionally rise from the deep, which has added to the mystery of their true habits. Even marine biologists have failed to observe giant squids in the natural environment. A recent attempt to observe the squids by video cameras affixed to sperm whales, giant squids’ primary predators, was foiled after the camera detached.
Giant squids are recognizable by their 10 tentacles and massive eyes, the largest in the animal kingdom, typically the size of basketballs.