The Giant Squid

     It goes by the common name of the Giant Squid, scientific name- Architeuthis dux. One of the strangest

things about this elusive giant has to be that it remains the largest cephalopod and the largest mollusk, yet

has never been seen alive. Scientists and researchers, to this day, have never been able to examine the Giant

Squid in its normal deep-water environment. If able to actually film the squids in their environment, a great

deal could be learned. Dr.Clyde Roper, who has been in hot pursuit of the Giant Squid for the past 35 years

says, “[Being able to film] will tell us about locomotion, and whether it is shy, neutral, or aggressive; if it is

solitary or appears in pairs or schools.“ The only way we have been able to learn about them up until this point

has been by studying the ones that become stranded on land or wash ashore. Also, they rarely have turned up

on U.S. beaches. A Giant Squid washed aground on Plum Island, Massachusetts in 1980, was only the 3rd Giant

Squid found stranded on U.S. shores. It measured 9 feet in length and weighed 440 pounds, sex, female.

Also,their parts often have been found in the stomach cavities of the sperm whale who feeds on them. We

cannot really be sure how the sperm whale manages to eat the squid because oftentimes they measure the

same size. What terrible fights must arise in deep unexplored waters. The average size ofthe Giant Squid

ranges from 19.7 to 42.7 feet in length, and weigh in at an average 110-661 pounds. What has been the largest

recorded ever found? One that measured a whopping 59.5 feet and weighed 1 ton!

     So what exactly makes up the body of a squid? What you may notice right away are the huge eyes on either

side. One eye actually happens to be larger than the other one. The reason for this lies in the probability that

the squid migrates higher in the water during the night to look forfood. The large eye probably aids in helping

the animal seein the murky depths it inhabits in the daytime. The other eye helps navigate better in the

shallower water where more light exists, even in the hours of darkness. The eyes, which have the unique honor

of being the largest in the animal kingdom, can grow to 10 inches, or roughly the size of a volleyball. The head

of the squid does accommodate an intricate brain. The Giant Squid also has fins, which seem to be relatively

small in this species. They help the mammoth animal maneuver and stay poised as it swims. The mantle, or the

main body, consists of a muscular sac, which contains most of the organ systems. It has eight arms, which

contain two rows of suckers. They have two feeding tentacles that grab and reel in their prey. They also have

a funnel,or a multi-use tube used in breathing, jetting, squirting ink, laying eggs, and excreting waste. How,

might you also wonder, does a squid eat once it does capture its prey? Giant Squids come equipped with a

sharp, horny beak that breaks food up into bite-sized pieces. A file-like radula forces food down the throat

and esophagus, which then goes straight through the brain to the stomach.

     So where exactly can the Giant Squid be found? Do we even know? What kind of food do they eat? Well,

according to, they can be found all over the place. From the North Atlantic, Pacific, northern

Norway, from the Bering Sea to the Sea of Japan. As mentioned earlier, only three have been found on any of

America’s coastlines. The full-grown Giant Squid can be found in the mysterious deep of the ocean, 700 to

3300 feet. Even further down still, you could find a Giant Squid at depths of 13,300 feet. As for food, we

do not know a lot about what exactly the Giant Squid eats. When one has been found washed ashore

somewhere, their stomachs have been perpetually empty. Even when able to find one with food in the stomach,

it has usually been broken down so much for eating, that researchers find it impossible to tell what it was. The

most scientists have come up with is that it feeds mainly on fishes and other squids.

     For centuries the mysterious Giant Squid has been the main character in many a horror story, always

portrayed as something to fear, and strike terror into the hearts of many. In long ago times, the Giant Squid

encouraged storiesof a ferocious monster lurking just below the top of the water waiting to assail an

unsuspecting boat. Documented reports of the squid go back to the 16th century. People used to report seeing

giant mer-men but they most likely just saw Giant Squid washed ashore somewhere. You may remember the

movie 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and the squid-attacks-the-submarine scene. Or how about the book,

Beast by Peter Benchley that painted the picture of a 100-foot squid gobbling up tourists in Bermuda. Both of

these scenarios are completely ridiculous, and very good examples of how Hollywood often tries to fill in the

blanks if it is something the least bit mysterious.

     Well, who knows how many more deep sea dives and expeditions will need to be scheduled by enthusiastic

researchers like Clyde Roper, Ph.D. (after 35 years of searching, his enthusiasm hasn’t waned). So why are the

Giant Squid so elusive? Why is it that they live so far beneath the ocean? Why are they are able to disappear

in a cloud of ink? “The Giant Squid also have acute vision and may be able to sense and avoid an approaching

submersible using what scientists believe may be a sensory receptor system not unlike the lateral line of a

fish”, according to Roper. He also says that it will not be long until Architeuthis,  Greek for Chief Squid, is

caught live on film. He says researchers have the equipment and know-how, and now all they need is the squid.