Giant squid certainly live up to their name. The biggest on record measured nearly 43 feet long (13 meters) and weighed in at almost a ton. One would think that an animal that size would easy to find but oceans are very vast. Giant squid reside very deep under those vast waters, remaining elusive, and are rarely ever seen. Almost everything we know about giant squid comes from studying their carcasses. Here are some interesting facts about these magnificent creatures.
The eyes of giant squid can be an astonishing ten and a half inches across. Their eyeballs do not possess the jelly-like substance which gives shape to ours. Instead, their eyes are full of water. That water leaks out after the giant squid dies, collapsing its eyes as if they were plastic bags.
Females are larger than males
Female giant squids are about twice the size of male giant squids.
Only one known species
Until not so long ago, scientists assumed that there must be different species of giant squid. But according to a scientific study performed as recently as 2013, Architeuthis dux is the only species known by man. This study compared 43 different specimens coming from different oceans and seas. Scientists found this to be quite strange.
A very interesting giant squid’s corpse was discovered in 1968 in Canada. The corpse had a tentacle that had been partially regenerated. The regenerated tentacle had different width, length, size and pattern of suckers than the other tentacles.
Mode of self defense
The suckers of giant squid can inflict ugly battle wounds. Giant squid must exercise caution when confronting sperm whales, which are predators to squid of all sizes. When a predator attacks, the giant squid retaliates with its tentacles. Serrated rings around its suckers leave large circular wounds.
They don’t use tongues
Giant squid don’t have proper tongues. Instead, they have a ‘radula,’ which is an organ that rests within their beaks covered with toothy, sharp protrusions pointing backwards, called denticles.
Meals for sperm whales
Sperm whales devour millions of giant squids each year. Giant squid are frequently discovered within sperm whales’ stomachs. Recently, a female sperm whale was spotted carrying a giant squid in her mouth. There are roughly 36,000 sperm whales in our oceans. If they ate even one giant squid, on average, every month, that would equate to 4.3 million per year. According to some experts, this figure is excessively low and they think 131 million is closer to the right figure.
Jellyfish help them hunt
Some types of jellyfish help giant squids hunt. These jellyfish can perform bioluminescence, whereby they can light up themselves and the surrounding dark ocean. Giant squid hunt the creatures that hunt jellyfish. When a jellyfish is in trouble, it may find itself getting some much needed help from a giant squid.