What is a Giant Squid?

What's 40-foot long and has the biggest eye in the animal kingdom? It’s the giant squid. Belonging to the family Architeuthidae, giant squidarchiteuthis is a species of deep-ocean dwelling squid. The species can grow to enormous size, providing an example of deep-sea gigantism: recent approximations put the maximum size at about 12–13 m for females and 10 m for males, from the posterior fins to the tip of the two long tentacles.


Giant squid eyes are the size of Frisbees displaying an astounding 10.5 inches across. A squid’s eyeball is deficient in the jelly-like compound that gives ours their shape. Rather, they’re filled with water that leaks out once the invertebrate dies. "The eyes crumble and disintegrate. It's like a crumpled plastic bag.”


Check in the diagram below how big the giant squid is. Take a glance at one of the largest squid.

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How Giant is the Giant Squid, Really?

Wondering how big a giant squid is? Giant squids can size more than 40 feet long if we measure all the way out to the tip of their two long feeding tentacles. As observed, the main body of the giant squid isn’t very large (and not at all alluring of an invertebrate). It’s the long, long arms and tentacles that make them so giant. If you give a thought to eight arms and two huge tentacles all floating in the ocean in all directions — you can sense how big they are. The biggest giant squid ever recorded by scientists was almost 43 feet long and weighed almost a ton.

Incredible Facts About Giant Squid

  1. Female squids are larger than males. A female giant squid is approximately twice the size of males from the tip of their beaks to the ends of the two longest tentacles.

  2. Giant squidarchiteuthis suckers can leave ugly scuffle scars. The squid's main enemy is the sperm whale. While being an assault, the squid often retaliates by inflicting huge, circular wounds, affability of the serrated rings around each sucker.

  3. The size of a giant squid’s eye is even larger than the largest animal on Earth — the blue whale. To put this into comparison, the blue whale — has an eye diameter of six inches while a giant squid has 10inches. 

  4. Since it is so dark, they need huge eyes to pick up any little amount of light that crosses through to that depth.

  5. Squid’s big eyes help them with hunting prey and averting predators.

  6. Giant squids need to be utterly cautious while swallowing since if a given meal isn’t firstly broken down into small pieces, it can rub against the brain and cause collapse.

  7. There may be just one known species. A genetic evaluation in 2013 suggested that Architeuthis dux is the only species of giant squid.

  8. A squid’s tentacles can regenerate. One giant squid corpse found in Canada had a partially regenerated tentacle, different in the size and pattern of suckers when compared to the normal tentacular arm."

  9. The first-ever giant squid photo taken was inside of a bathroom.

  10. Ahead of 2004, nobody ever shot any pictures of a live giant squid. History was created by residents of the Ogasawara Islands on September 30, 2004. Zoologist Tsunemi and whale-watcher Kyochi Mori allured an Architeuthis about 2950 feet underneath their vessel using a line baited with shrimp. Five hundred still images were then shot by an immersed camera before the squid bailed out — leaving behind an 18-foot severed tentacle.

  11.  Squid’s penises are about a yard long. Some biologists are suspicious that males use their sex organs like syringes, injecting sperm into a female’s skin, where she stores it until her eggs require fertilizing.

  12.  Giant squid can be cannibals. Knick-knacks of one Architeuthis showed up in a live giant squid's stomach. But this doesn’t necessarily make it obvious that giant squid dines on one another.

  13. Jellyfish help squids hunt. As they say, the enemy of your enemy is your friend. Certain jellyfish are glow-in-the-dark, which means that they can light themselves up and radiate the ocean’s inky depths.

  14. Predators like architeuthis consume many of the fish that hunt jellyfish. Thus, if a bioluminescent jelly sees itself under attack, it can cry for help by streaking a distress signal, in the hopes that it might draw an even bigger carnivore and scare off its assailant. That’s probably the theory behind luring the giant squid with an electronic jellyfish.

  15. The giant squidarchiteuthis is not the only monster-sized squid out there. Meet Mesonychoteuthis hamiltoni, better called the colossal squid. Although Architeuthis probably transcends length-wise, M. hamiltoni is bulkier on average, has even bigger eyeballs, and shows off swivelling hooks on its tentacles. This isn't a creature you’d want to drive crazy.

Giant Squid of Myth

There has been a Cultural Connection associated with the giant squid myth. The giant squid has attracted human attraction and imagination for over 2,000 years. For a long time, people who discovered them floating, dead, at sea or washed up on beaches found themselves unable to identify what they were. Were they mammoths or sea serpents? Mermen? Or behemoth? Rare glimpses of this colossal sea creature instigated both fear and fascination. 


Zoologists and many People came up with fantastic descriptions for what their startled eyes saw — or thought they saw. Books, Movies, and popular lore presented confrontations with huge, hungry sea creatures flaunting many tentacles. It appears that the giant squid of myth is not at all a monster. However, only since the late 19th century has adequate scientific proof gathered to replace the myths with fact. 

Anatomy of Giant Squid

Giant squid consists of 8 long arms instead of using their two long feeding tentacles to capture prey. A squid’s body may appear pretty simple: Similar to other squids and octopuses, it consists of a beak, a funnel, 2 eyes, 2 feeding tentacles, and 8 arms. But, obviously, all of it is much larger! Let’s check out the different parts and functioning of a giant squid.

  1. Arms and Beak

Eight thick and long, long arms freckled with 2-inch wide-toothed suckers guide prey from the feeding tentacles to a sharp beak in the middle of the arms, where the prey is chopped into bite-sized pieces. Further, these bites are cut and grounded by the radula, (tongue-like organ) covered with rows of teeth, which remains inside the squid's beak.

  1. Feeding Tentacles

Giant squid can snatch away the prey up to 33 feet by fraying out their two feeding tentacles that are tipped with hundreds of mighty sharp-toothed suckers. The feeding tentacles are very, very long, mostly double the total length of the giant squid on their own.

  1. Eyes and Head

The head holds eyes the size of dinner plates -- the biggest in the Animalia kingdom. At 1 foot in diameter, these big eyes soak up more light than their smaller counterparts would, enabling the squid to glance at bioluminescent prey -- or sight predators loitering -- in the dark. The squid's complex brain, which is very little in relation to its body, is shaped like a donut. Bizarre enough, its esophagus runs across the "donut hole" in the centre, which makes churning of food into tiny bits an evolutionary priority.

  1. Body and Funnel

The mantle or the main part of the body has all the basic organs. And on the underside of the body is the funnel — an incredible multipurpose tool. By pumping water and other fluids via a funnel, the squid uses it to exhale, excrete waste, lay eggs, squirt ink, and move across the water by jet propulsion.

Giant Squid Size and Strength

Amazingly, the reports of giant squid size are often exaggerated given that finding a live giant squid is a greatly rare event. Since their arms and tentacle fall off or, alternatively, can be extended, scientists often use mantle length as an ideal measure of a squid's actual size. The longest mantle length recorded is 7.4 feet, the length from the tip of the top fin to the end of the arms hardly stretches 16 feet, and the longest total length (inclusive of tentacles) on record is 43 feet (13 meters) long. 


Do you know how big is a giant squid? Based on a new technique of squid measurement, scientists speculate that the giant squid could reach lengths up to 66 feet (20 meters) long, making it indisputably larger than the humongous squid; but, a real-life squid of this size has never been chronicled.

Did You Know?

  1. On average, Giant squid’s maximum length is around 43feet.

  2. Instead of a tongue, they use a radula. This organ rests inside their beaks and is encapsulated with seven rows of denticles—sharp, toothy, backwards-pointing protrusions.

  3. Giant squid brains are doughnut-shaped. That’s possibly not their weirdest part. What’s truly outlandish (at least from mammal-centric notion) is the fact that its esophagus passes through the hole in the centre of its brain.

  4. Considering the size of squid’s eyes that can be up to ten inches in diameter, it is considered the size of a dinner plate.

  5. The world’s first giant squid did not arrive until 2006.

  6. Approximately, 4.3 TO 131 million squids are eaten by sperm whales each year.

  7. Giant squids give rise to sea serpent legends

  8. Same as all squids, giant squids have three Hearts. A median heart transports oxygenated blood throughout the body, which it gets from two smaller ones that pump blood through the gills.

Conclusion

Almost everything people are familiar with about giant squid comes from specimens washed up on beaches. Sometimes their arms or tentacles have fallen off, or have been consumed by other animals while afloat in the ocean. Conversely, when they wash ashore, the squids can be swollen with water, looking larger than they really are.

FAQs on Giant Squid

Q1. Where Does the Giant Squid Live?

Answer: Giant squid live in the Twilight Zone — deep underwater — at depths ranging 1,000 feet to 2,000 feet. Because the giant squid lives deep down in the ocean, there is not quite a lot even exploration scientists would know about them. We have observed the tiniest of the giant squid in the wild. Most of what we know about them transpires from the bodies of dead squid which have washed ashore or been pulled up in fishermen’s nets. The largest squid ever spotted by zoologists was the 43 feet (13 metres) long invertebrate which is the largest of the squid family so far considered.


However, since the ocean is expansive and giant squid lives deep underwater, they are elusive and are scarcely seen: most of what we know appears from dead carcasses that glided to the surface and were found by fishermen.

Q2. Are Giant Squids Dangerous?

Answer: Some have a suspicion that the horrifying Kraken of ancient myth may have partly been based on the giant squid. However, unless you discover yourself swimming around the Twilight Zone — you should dread not — you are not in danger. Taking into account the recreational scuba diving restricts only go to 130 feet, and giant squid lives at depths 10 xs deeper, chances are you’ll never encounter one.

Q3. Do Squids Squirt Ink?

Answer: The giant squid is a mollusk. It is also a member of the cephalopod class that includes the octopus and other squids. Because of this, almost all cephalopods such as squid can squirt ink as an escape measure when scared. This potential is realizable with the use of the squid’s ink sacs and water propulsion.


There is hardly any video footage or research of giant squid since they are so difficult to catch and live in the deep, deep depths of the ocean. We can only assume they squirt ink since they are cephalopods and hold the ability to do so.

Q4. What is the Life Cycle and Lifespan of a Giant Squid?

Answer: How long does it take for a giant squid to grow so big? Contrary to mammals, including people, and many fish species, cephalopods grow rapidly and die only after a short span. Evidence from statoliths (a small mineralized mass, which allows squid balance), collects "growth rings" and can be utilized to measure age, indicating that giant squid lives no more than five years. This also suggests that each squid must grow remarkably rapidly to reach 30 feet in just a few years! To grow at such a rate, giant squid should live in regions of the ocean where there is enough supply of food to offer adequate energy.

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