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Architeuthis, Giant squid<< Cephalopod Species
Arrr! There be monsters here.
Giant squid get up to 60 feet (20 m) in length and easily hold the record as the world's largest invertebrate. They also have the largest eyes of any animal in the world. Despite the size of these beasts no one has ever seen one alive in its natural environment. If we can't even find a giant squid, think of how many smaller but just as interesting creatures are living out their lives undiscovered in the worlds oceans! Some of them can even be found in shallow water in the ocean near your home.
To me, the giant squid represents many things. One of them is the shift of money, resources and scientific manpower towards the molecular and reductionist explanations that dominate present day biology. This has come at the expense of organismal biology, natural history, systematics and other fields of basic biology. If we are an intelligent species, shouldn't we put more effort into finding out everything we can about our environment and the animals that live in it? Aren't basic questions like "What is it?, How long does it live? What does it eat?" just as important? Isn't it surprising that somewhere out there is a 60 foot long beast that no human has ever seen alive in its natural habitat? Doesn't this suggest that there are a lot of creatures, especially invertebrates, out there in rain forests and coral reefs and maybe even your own backyard that nothing or almost nothing is known about?
In the case of the missing giant squid, there is a happy beginning. Scientists have recently begun to look. You can follow their latest discoveries as they happen in New Zealand. The 1999 Smithsonian search for giant squid is online. Click here to take a look.
CreditsDavid Paul photographed this 12 m female Architeuthis in Melbourne, Australia. The giant squid was captured from off Tasmania.
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The Cephalopod Page (TCP), © Copyright 1995-2014, was created and is maintained by Dr. James B. Wood, Associate Director of the Waikiki Aquarium which is part of the University of Hawaii. Please see the FAQs page for cephalopod questions, Marine Invertebrates of Bermuda for information on other invertebrates, and MarineBio.org and the Census of Marine Life for general information on marine biology.