Colossal Squid Fact Sheet

Common Name:

Colossal Squid / Antarctic squid / Giant cranch squid

Scientific Name:

Mesonychoteuthis hamiltoni

Wild Status:

Least Concern

Habitat:

Up to 3,280 miles under water

Country:

From Antarctica to southern South America, Southern South Africa and Southern tip of New Zealand

Shelter:

Ocean

Life Span:

About 2 years

Size:

Up to 46feet long and up to 1,650 pounds

Cool Facts:

  • Sperm whales are one of the Colossal Squid's natural predators.
  • They have the largest eyes in the animal kingdom, measuring at 11 inches in diameter.
  • The ends of the tentacles also feature sharp hooks.
  • The Colossal Squid is the largest species of squid.
  • Their primary diet consists of chaetognaths, toothfish, and other deep sea squid.
  • Colossal squid are thought to have longer mantles than the giant squid, but shorter tentacles.
  • The Colossal Squid is the largest known invertebrate.

Details:

The Colossal Squid is the largest species of squid, and also possesses the largest eyes in the animal kingdom. They can weigh up to 1,650 pounds and be as long as 46 feet.  They are also the largest known invertebrate. Their tentacles have large hooks at the end, some swiveling and others three-pointed.  Their bodies are wider and heavier than that of the Giant Squid. The Colossal Squid exhibits abyssal gigantism. They also have the largest beak of any known squid. Their habitat range is thousands of miles making it the inhabitant of the entire circumantarctic Southern Ocean. They mainly eat the Antarctic toothfish and chaetognaths, and other deep sea squids. It is believed they have a slow metabolic rate and eat about 1.1 oz of prey daily.  It is also believed they are the slow moving ambush type of hunter.  The Colossal Squid apparently lacks a hectocotylus (an arm used in other cephalopods to transfer a spermatophore to the female) and so most likely uses a penis. The female Colossal Squid ovaries contain thousands of eggs. The Colossal Squids main predators are beaked whales, pilot whales, Souther elephant seals, Patagonian toothfish, sleeper sharks and albatrosses. It is believed the Colossal Squid lives up to 2 years.

Taxonomic Breakdown:

Kingdom: Animalia Phylum: Mollusca Class: Cephalopoda Superorder: Decapodiformes Order: Oegopsida Family: Cranchilidae Subfamily: Taonilnae Genus: Mesonychoteuthis Species: Mesonychoteuthis hamiltoni

Conservation & Helping:

There are no conservation measures in place as finding specimens of the Colossal Squid is rare.

For Teachers and Educators

Colossal-Squid-Fact-Sheet.pdf

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