Monday, July 5, 2010
July 5, 2010 : Colossal Squid
The Colossal Squid (Mesonychoteuthis hamiltoni, from Greek mesos (middle), nychus (claw), and teuthis (squid)), sometimes called the Antarctic or Giant Cranch Squid, is believed to be the largest squid species in terms of mass. It is the only known member of the genus Mesonychoteuthis. Though it is known from only a few specimens, current estimates put its maximum size at 12–14 metres (39–46 feet) long, based on analysis of smaller and immature specimens, making it the largest known invertebrate.
Unlike the giant squid, whose arms and tentacles only have suckers lined with small teeth, the Colossal Squid's limbs are also equipped with sharp hooks: some swiveling, others three-pointed. Its body is wider and stouter, and therefore heavier, than that of the giant squid. Colossal Squids are believed to have a longer mantle than giant squids, although their tentacles are shorter.
The squid exhibits abyssal gigantism. The beak of Mesonychoteuthis hamiltoni is the largest known of any squid, exceeding that of Architeuthis (giant squid) in size and in robustness. The Colossal Squid also has the largest eyes documented in the animal kingdom.