There are so many incredible, beautiful and dangerous animals that are found in the waters taking up so much of our world that we know very little about. I believe that is why it always gets our attention when one of these little known animals are caught on video.
In 2013 Japanese scientists caught a video of a living giant squid that was 3 meters long, however when this video was released the Russians released a video they had of a Colossal squid that was caught on tape by the All-Russian Research Institute of Fisheries and Oceanography that they took several years before. Many don’t realize there is a difference between Giant Squid and Colossal Squid. Although both are rare, the Colossal squid is the rarer of the two breeds. Although the Giant squid can be slightly longer than the Colossal squid they generally have larger, heavier bodies which result in a heavier species, weighing up to twice as much as the longer Giant Squid. The Colossal squid has the largest beak of any squid species as well as two rows of sharp, swiveling hooks in addition to two rows of suckers on their tentacles.
Evan Isthmian and Alexander Vagin were two of the Russian scientists that caught the rare Colossal squid on video in January of 2008 off the coast of Antartica. They were on a fishing boat that was fishing for toothfish, one of the Colossal squid’s favorite foods. Toothfish are deep water fish and they were using lines that were 6 kilometers deep. As they pulled up their catch the colossal squid was wrapped around their catch and appeared to be 3 times as long as the toothfish, which can be 2 meters long itself. Luckily, the scientists had a camera and the weather was cooperating with them, which is unusual in the area where the video was captured. Watch below as these fishermen battle a Colossal squid.
The toothfish, once on board, measured at 178 cm which allowed the scientists to estimate the length of the squid being approximately 4 meters long. Most of what we know of the species has been discovered from the remains of squid who were found in the stomachs of animals who ate them after they had died. It is believed that the Colossal squid dies after reproducing once it has reached a certain age.
This is a tentacle found in the Toothfish’s stomach. The picture was taken by Ivan Isthmian. When asked if they knew of any other occurrences where people encountered Colossal squid the scientist replied “As you know, the largest giant squid Architeuthis instance was found on the shores of New Zealand. Its length , along with hunting tentacles was 17.4 meters. Among the fishermen hear stories about how , together with the caught fish raised a monster longer than two dozen meters. It is difficult to judge whether it’s true or only fiction sea . but significantly But it is known that sperm whales on the skins, which are actively consume squid as food , they found the marks of suction cups diameter of several tens of centimeters . If we consider that our sample with a length of about five meters mantle had three-centimeter sucker , these stories do not seem too fantastic. No matter how long we may have studied the ocean, it will continue to hide from us its secrets .”
Because the toothfish was the desired catch the crew on the fishing vessel immediately tried to detach the squid from the fish by swinging hooks in order to save the toothfish. The squid eventually released it’s prey and submerged several meters before resurfacing just to slowly sink back down into the depths of the Arctic Ocean. This is a picture of the damage done to the Toothfish by the Colossal squid before the fisherman were able to detach the squid from their catch.
This is a closeup of the tentacle that was found inside of the toothfish’s stomach. It was believed that there were only 8 species of giant squid in the world, but scientists have discovered the DNA of 43 species of giant squid found in different parts of the world through genetic research.
Also found in the stomach of the toothfish is this beak from a Colossal squid, which has the largest beak of all squid species. The colossal squid is actually the second largest predator found in the ocean, second only to the sperm whale. It is also believed that they are the inspiration for Icelandic folklore featuring the sea monster Kraken.
You can watch the video yourself to see the elusive Colossal Squid! We are lucky that the Arctic waters were so calm to allow this footage to be caught on video. It’s amazing that such enormous animals are virtually unknown to the world and that we know so little about what lies beneath the surface of the Earth’s oceans!