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I have been called by many names, including sea monster, kraken, calamari, and dinner. I am a giant squid (Architeuthis spp.). I am a highly intelligent cephalopod. My cousins include the octopus, cuttlefish, and chambered nautilus.
Despite my ancestors washing up on shore or getting caught in fishing nets, we have managed to stay elusive to humans. Truthfully it hasn’t been that hard, as humans have explored less than 5 percent of the oceans. Most of the ocean is the pitch dark deep sea in which no sunlight penetrates. That is where I live.
No human had ever filmed a giant squid alive deep in the ocean until recently. They filmed one of my colleagues using a special light that neither humans nor squid can detect, and created a special lure. I’m sure my fellow squid knew that someone was around though. There are always those who love to hog the spotlight in every species!
Here are my impressive stats:
1. My eyes are the size of dinner plates, and are the largest eyes of any animal on earth.
2. Giant squid can grow to lengths of 43-55 feet (13-16.8 meters) measuring from the top of our heads to the tip of our tentacles.
3. Unlike octopus, we have 8 arms plus 2 long feeding tentacles.
4. We have razor sharp rings on all our suckers (those are what leave scars on sperm whales).
5. Giant squid actually do sometime win in epic battles with sperm whales!
6. We are found in all the world’s oceans.
7. Giant squid are quite intelligent.
My octopus cousins are considered the most intelligent invertebrate, but their benthic (living on the bottom) nature makes them easy (and fun!) to keep in captivity. My smaller squid relatives are much harder to keep alive in tanks. Squid may seem less intelligent, but we are really just studied less by humans.
The giant squid footage airs in a documentary that will be broadcast in the US on January 27 on the Discovery Channel. Check your local listings for times.