The giant squid (Architeuthis) is the largest living invertebrate on the planet. It has probably the largest eyes in the entire animal kingdom. The squid is a bottom-dwelling species and it grows to a tremendous size of 43 feet. It is one of the poorly known oceanic species. The precise distribution is unknown but it lives somewhere around the coasts of New Zealand and South Africa.
Giant Squid Facts
- The giant squid is one of the largest mollusks in terms of mass—second only to colossal squid. The maximum length of the squid measures around 20 m (66 ft) but the average length is 43 feet for females and 33 feet for males.
- The maximum weight of the male squid is 150 kg (330 lb) while females weigh up to 275 kg (606 lb). Male squids appear to be smaller than females.
- Giant squid is primarily known for its two long tentacles perhaps the longest tentacles of any cephalopod.
- It has eight arms and a mantle. The mantle length of mature males measure around 1,000 mm while females have 1,800 mm long mantle.
- They have got a unique way of swimming in that they pull water into the mantle cavity and push it through the siphon. The giant squid is typically propelled by a jet.
- The animal breathes through the gills which are located in mantle cavity.
- The diameter of the squid’s eyes is 27 cm (11 in). It allows the squid to detect light when there is darkness all over the place.
- Giant squids are not able to see colors.
- They use organs to identify their orientation and motion in water. These organs are called ‘statocysts’.
- We’re not sure about the exact distribution of giant squids but they are thought to occupy all the major oceans of the world.
- The squid breeds to a depth of 900 meters.
- Giant squids are native to Norway, Japan, Australia, United States, Canada, New Zealand, Namibia, and Spain.
Giant squids are likely to breed in the continental and island slopes of the North Atlantic Ocean to the oceanic islands of Madeira and Azores.
Feeding Ecology and Diet
- Biologists believe that giant squids primarily feed on deep-sea fish and other squids. They get hold of their prey by gripping it tightly with two tentacles. Moments later, the squid will bring the prey toward its beak to pass it to the esophagus.
- They are thought to be solitary animals because only an individual squid is caught in fishing nets.
- The reproductive cycle of the giant squid is not well known. They are known to attain maturity at about 3 years of age.
- The female produces large number of eggs. Giant squid’s eggs averages 0.5 to 1.4 mm (0.020 to 0.055 in) in length with the width measuring at 0.3 to 0.7 mm (0.012 to 0.028 in).
- The sperm whale is the primary predator of giant squids. However deep-sea sharks and pilot whales also eat squids.
- Studies suggest that the average lifespan of the giant squid is 10 – 14 years.
- The female squid has the potential to fertile 9 million eggs.