List of colossal squid specimens and sightings
This list of colossal squid specimens and sightings is a listing of recorded specimens of Mesonychoteuthis hamiltoni, popularly known as the colossal squid.
Number of specimens
According to Xavier et al. (1999), geographical positions for 188 Mesonychoteuthis hamiltoni specimens caught by commercial and scientific fisheries were known as of 1999.
List of colossal squid
Records are listed chronologically in descending order and numbered accordingly.
- Date – Date on which the specimen was first captured, found, or observed. In cases where this is unknown, the date the specimen was first reported is listed instead.
- Location – Area where the specimen was found. Given as it appears in the cited references, except where additional information is provided in brackets.
- Oceanic sector – The quadrant of a major ocean in which the specimen was found (see Oceanic sectors).
- Method of capture – Method by which the specimen was recovered or observed. Given as it appears in the cited references, although "washed ashore" encompasses all stranded animals.
- Identification – Species or genus level taxon to which the specimen was originally assigned. Given as it appears in the cited references. Listed chronologically if specimen was re-identified.
- Material cited – Original specimen material that was recovered or observed.
- Material saved – Material that was kept after examination and not discarded (if any).
- Sex – Sex and sexual maturity of the specimen.
- Size and measurements – Data relating to measurements and counts. Abbreviations used are based on standardised acronyms in teuthology (see Measurements), with the exception of several found in older references.
- Repository – Institution in which the specimen material is kept. The acronyms used are those defined by Leviton et al. (1985) and Leviton & Gibbs (1988) (see Repositories). Where the acronym is unknown, the full repository name is listed.
- Cited references – Sources that provide specific data on a particular specimen.
- Additional references – Sources which merely refer to the specimen.
- Notes – Miscellaneous information.
Note: Names of anatomical features are retained from original sources (e.g. jaws may be given instead of the preferred beak).
|#||Date||Location||Oceanic sector||Method of capture||Identification||Material cited||Material saved||Sex||Size and measurements||Repository||Cited references||Additional references||Notes|
|1||1925||From sperm whale stomach||Mesonychoteuthis hamiltoni Robson, 1925||Two arm (brachial) crowns||Robson (1925:272)|
|1956/1957||South Orkney Islands (59°41'S, 44°14'W)||SWA||From sperm whale stomach||Architeuthis sp.; Mesonychoteuthis hamiltoni Robson, 1925||Head and mantle||Undetermined||HL: 30 cm; HW: 20 cm; ED: 16–17 cm; WL?: ~12 m||Korabelnikov (1959:103); Yukhov (1974:62)||Initial identification by I.I. Akimushkin. From 15.8 m long male sperm whale.|
|1956/1957||South Shetland Islands (61°56'S, 52°39'W)||SWA||From sperm whale stomach||Architeuthis sp.; Mesonychoteuthis hamiltoni Robson, 1925||Fin only||Undetermined||FL: 41 cm; FW: 48 cm; WL?: ~10 m||Korabelnikov (1959:103); Yukhov (1974:62)||Initial identification by I.I. Akimushkin. From 15 m long male sperm whale.|
|1970 (reported)||Mesonychoteuthis hamiltoni||Entire||Entire?||ML: 86 mm||McSweeny (1970)||Voss (1980:395, fig. 10b); Clarke (1986:199)||Juvenile specimen. Upper and lower beaks described and illustrated.|
|1975 (reported)||Mesonychoteuthis hamiltoni||"large specimen"; ML unknown||Klumov & Yukhov (1975)||Clarke (1986:199)||Upper and lower beaks described and illustrated.|
|1980 (reported)||Mesonychoteuthis hamiltoni||Entire||Entire?||Female (subadult)||ML: 1250 mm||Voss (1980)|
|1980 (reported)||Mesonychoteuthis hamiltoni||Entire||Entire?||ML: 23 mm||Voss (1980:395, fig. 10c)||Advanced paralarva.|
|1980 (reported)||Mesonychoteuthis hamiltoni||Two partial specimens; brachial crowns||Entire||NMNH||Voss (1980)|
|1981||off Dronning Maud Land, Antarctic at 750–770 m depth||By trawl||Mesonychoteuthis hamiltoni||Entire||Female (immature)||ML: 2.42 m; EL?: 5.1 m||||Ellis (1998:147)||Caught by Soviet trawler Eureka (Эврика). Photographed by Alexander Remeslo.|
|1985 (reported)||at 2000–2200 m depth||Trawled in opening-closing net (RMT8)||Mesonychoteuthis hamiltoni||Entire?||ML: 1.05 m||Rodhouse & Clarke (1985)|
|1986 (reported)||(47°51'S 40°01'W, WH 101 I/76)||Mesonychoteuthis hamiltoni||Lower beak||Entire?||Female (juvenile)||LRL: 7.10 mm; ML: 225.0 mm||Clarke (1986:200, fig. A)|
|1986 (reported)||S. Georgia||From sperm whale stomach||Mesonychoteuthis hamiltoni||Lower beak||Entire?||LRL: 13.50 mm||Clarke (1986:200, fig. B)|
|1986 (reported)||S. Georgia||From sperm whale stomach||Mesonychoteuthis hamiltoni||Lower beak||Entire?||LRL: 20.40 mm||Clarke (1986:200, fig. C)|
|March 2003||Ross Sea||Found floating on surface||Mesonychoteuthis hamiltoni||Entire; recovered in three pieces, later reassembled||Entire||Female (subadult)||ML: ~2.5 m; WL: ~5.4 m; LRL: 37 mm; WT: ~300 kg||Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa||Numerous media sources|
|2004 (reported)||"in upper slope waters of the Kerguelen Archipelago"||From stomach contents of 22 sleeper sharks (Somniosus pacificus)||Mesonychoteuthis hamiltoni||89 beaks; 42 lower, 47 upper (minimum number of individuals: 49)||Entire||LRL: 10.1–38.8 mm; LRL(average): 22.3 mm ±7.2; ML(estimate): 61–237 cm; ML(average): 136 cm ±44; WT(estimate): 2.1–91.2 kg; WT(average): 24.4 kg ±22.1||Cherel & Duhamel (2004)||M. hamiltoni beaks were found in 61.1% (22/36) of sleeper sharks examined. Beaks of this species accounted for 16.1% (89/553) of total recovered cephalopod beaks. M. hamiltoni accounted for 52.0% (1133621/2180535 g) of total reconstituted cephalopod biomass.|
|25 June 2005||"South Georgia waters" at 1625 m depth||Caught alive by long-lining fishing vessel; "caught on a number of hooks on a longline" set to target Patagonian toothfish||Mesonychoteuthis hamiltoni||Entire; alive||Head with tentacles and arms; mantle too heavy to bring aboard||WL(estimate): ~5 m; WT (estimate): 150–200 kg||South Georgia Newsletter June 2005||Caught by longliner Isla Santa Clara. Five men, including the ship's scientific observer, attempted to bring the squid aboard. Paul McCarthy, the scientific observer, estimated the length and weight of the squid. Specimen was sent to King Edward Point (KEP) Scientists for formal identification. Two images taken by Ramon Ferreira Gomez.|
|8 January 2007||"near the Ross Ice Shelf"||SWP||Caught by long-lining fishing vessel targeting Patagonian toothfish||Mesonychoteuthis hamiltoni||Entire; alive||None?||ML(estimate?): 12–14 ft||, ||First recorded sighting of a mature colossal squid. Photographed alive in the water holding onto a Patagonian toothfish.|
|"early February" (captured); 22 February 2007 (reported)||"in the Ross Sea"||SWP||Caught by New Zealand (Sanford Ltd.) vessel San Aspiring while fishing for Antarctic toothfish||Mesonychoteuthis hamiltoni||Entire; alive||Entire||Female||EL(initial estimate): 10 m; EL(after thawing): 4.2 m; ML: ~2.5 m; LRL: 41 mm; EyD(estimate): 30–40 cm; EyD(after thawing): 27 cm; LD: 12 cm; WT: 495 kg||Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa||Anderton (2007); [Anonymous] (2007a); Griggs (2007); [Anonymous] (2007b); Black (2008); Atkinson (2008b)||Numerous media sources and website||First mature specimen ever recovered and largest extant cephalopod scientifically documented. Weight initially estimated at 450 kg. Tentacles and eyes shrunk considerably post mortem.|
|28 May 2007 (reported)||New Zealand?||SWP||From a research cruise||Mesonychoteuthis hamiltoni||Two tentacles||ML(estimate): 2 m|||
|20 March 2008 (reported)||Ross Sea||SWP||Caught by New Zealand research vessel Tangaroa||"colossal squid"||Several specimens||Juvenile||Atkinson (2008a)|
|2009 (reported)||Kerguelen waters||SIO||Found in stomach contents of sleeper shark (Somniosus sp.)||Mesonychoteuthis hamiltoni||Lower beak||Entire||(adult)||LRL: 23.6 mm||Xavier & Cherel (2009:55, fig. 10)|
|2009 (reported)||Kerguelen waters||SIO||Found in stomach contents of sleeper shark (Somniosus sp.)||Mesonychoteuthis hamiltoni||Lower beak||Entire||(juvenile)||LRL: 10.4 mm||Xavier & Cherel (2009:56, fig. 10)|
|2009 (reported)||Kerguelen waters||SIO||Found in stomach contents of sleeper shark (Somniosus sp.)||Mesonychoteuthis hamiltoni||Upper beak||Entire||URL: 27.7 mm||Xavier & Cherel (2009:86, fig. 10)|
|2 April 2012 (reported; found in previous week)||off Portland, Victoria, Australia||SWP||Found floating at surface, dead||"colossal type [squid]"||Entire?||ML?("body"): ~2 m; MW?: ~1 m; WT: 120 kg||Collins (2012)||Found by local fisherman and boat operator Bob McPherson while fishing for tuna in waters 700 m deep.|
|2014||Ross Sea at 1200–1800 m depth||SWP||Caught by New Zealand (Sanford Ltd.) vessel San Aspiring while fishing for Patagonian toothfish||"colossal squid"||Entire||Entire||Female||EL: 3.5 m; WT: 350 kg; EyD: 35 cm||Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa||Farquhar (2014)||Dissected on 16 September 2014 (eye lens and buccal mass removed); caught "a couple of months" earlier. Dissection led by Kat Bolstad and carried out by staff of Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa with help of Auckland University of Technology. Dissection was live streamed over YouTube for 3.5 hours.|
The following abbreviations are used in the List of colossal squid table.
M. hamiltoni has a circumpolar Antarctic distribution.
- SWA, Southwest Atlantic Ocean
- SEA, Southeast Atlantic Ocean
- SWP, Southwest Pacific Ocean
- SEP, Southeast Pacific Ocean
- SIO, Southern Indian Ocean
Abbreviations used for measurements and counts are based on standardised acronyms in teuthology, primarily those defined by Roper & Voss (1983), with the exception of several found in older references.
- ED, egg diameter
- EL, "entire" length (end of tentacle(s), often stretched, to posterior tip of tail; in contrast to WL, measured from end of arms to posterior tip of tail)
- EyD, eye diameter
- FL, fin length
- FW, fin width
- HL, head length (most often base of arms to edge of mantle)
- HW, head width
- LD, lens diameter
- LRL, lower rostral length of beak
- ML, mantle length (used only where stated as such)
- MW, maximum mantle width (used only where stated as such)
- WL, "whole" length (end of arms, often damaged, to posterior tip of tail; in contrast to EL, measured from end of tentacles to posterior tip of tail)
- WT, weight
Institutional acronyms are those defined by Leviton et al. (1985) and Leviton & Gibbs (1988). Where the acronym is unknown, the full repository name is listed.
- NMNH, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, District of Columbia, United States
The number directly below each image corresponds to the specimen or sighting, in the List of colossal squid, that the image depicts. The date on which the specimen was first captured, found, or observed is also given.
The following references are cited in the List of colossal squid table.
- [Anonymous] (2005). Very Rare Giant Squid Caught Alive. South Georgia Newsletter, June 2005. [Archived from the original on 16 February 2007.]
- [Anonymous] (2007a). NZ fishermen land colossal squid. BBC News, February 22, 2007.
- [Anonymous] (2007b). Microwave plan for colossal squid. BBC News, March 22, 2007.
- Aldridge, A.E. (2009). Can beak shape help to research the life history of squid? New Zealand Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research 43(5): 1061–1067. doi:10.1080/00288330.2009.9626529
- Anderton, H.J. (2007). Amazing specimen of world's largest squid in NZ. New Zealand Government website.
- Atkinson, K. (2008a). NZ Antarctic voyagers return with scientific treasure trove. The New Zealand Herald, March 20, 2008.
- Atkinson, K. (2008b). Size matters on 'squid row' (+photos, video). The New Zealand Herald, May 1, 2008.
- Black, R. (2008). Colossal squid's big eye revealed. BBC News, April 30, 2008.
- Burton, A. (2013). Radiance of the kraken. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 11(2): 112. doi:10.1890/1540-9295-11.2.112
- Cherel, Y. & G. Duhamel (2004). "Antarctic jaws: cephalopod prey of sharks in Kerguelen waters." (PDF). (531 KiB) Deep-Sea Research I 51:17-31.
- Cherel, Y. & K.A. Hobson (2005). Stable isotopes, beaks and predators: a new tool to study the trophic ecology of cephalopods, including giant and colossal squids. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 272(1572): 1601–1607. doi:10.1098/rspb.2005.3115
- Clarke, M.R. (1986). A Handbook for the Identification of Cephalopod Beaks. Clarendon Press, Oxford, 273 pages, ISBN 019857603X.
- Clarke, M.R. & N. Goodall (1994). Cephalopods in the diets of three odontocete cetacean species stranded at Tierra del Fuego, Globicephala melaena (Traill, 1809), Hyperoodon planifrons Flower, 1882 and Cephalorhynchus commersonii (Lacepede, 1804). Antarctic Science 6(2): 149–154. doi:10.1017/S0954102094000234
- Collins, P. (2012). Giant of the sea a rare find off Portland. The Warrnambool Standard, April 2, 2012.
- Ellis, R. (1998). The Search for the Giant Squid. The Lyons Press, 322 pages, ISBN 0140286764.
- Farquhar, P. (2014). Scientists Found Only The Second Intact Colossal Squid — Here's What It Looks Like. Business Insider Australia, 16 September 2014.
- Filippova, J.A. (2002). Review of Soviet/Russian studies on squids in the Antarctic Ocean. Bulletin of Marine Science 71(1): 255–267.
- Filippova, J.A. & E.A. Pakhomov (1994). Young squid in the plankton of Prydz Bay, Antarctica. Antarctic Science 6(2): 171–173. doi:10.1017/S095410209400026X
- Griggs, K. (2007). Colossal squid's headache for science. BBC News, March 15, 2007.
- Klumov, S.K. & V.L. Yukhov (1975). Mesonychoteuthis hamiltoni Robson, 1925 (Cephalopoda, Oegopsida) i ego znatchenie v pitanii kashalota antarckticheskih vod. [Mesonychoteuthis hamiltoni Robson, 1925 (Cephalopoda, Oegopsida) and its significance to feeding of sperm whales in Antarctic waters.] Antarktika: Doklady Komissi 14: 159–189. [English translation: TT 81-59176, Al Ahram Center for Scientific Translations.] (Russian)
- Korabelnikov, L.V. (1959). The diet of sperm whales in the Antarctic seas. Priroda 3:103-104, 5 figures. (Russian)
- Kubodera, T. (1995). 大型イカ--マッコウクジラの胃内容から. [Giant squid from sperm whale stomach contents.] Aquabiology 17(6): 482–487. NAID 40004392241 (Japanese)
- Leviton, A.E. & F.H. Gibbs Jr. (1988). Standards in herpetology and ichthyology. Standard symbolic codes for institutional resource collections in herpetology and ichthyology. Supplement No. 1: Additions and corrections. Copeia 1988(1):28-228.
- Leviton, A.E., F.H. Gibbs Jr., E. Heal & C.D. Dawson (1985). Standards in herpetology and ichthyology: Part I. Standard symbolic codes for institutional resource collections in herpetology and ichthyology. Copeia 1985(3):802-832.
- Lu, C.C. & R. Williams (1994). Contribution to the biology of squid in the Prydz Bay region, Antarctica. Antarctic Science 6(2): 223–229. doi:10.1017/S0954102094000349
- McSweeny, E.S. (1970). Description of the juvenile form of the Antarctic squid Mesonychoteuthis hamiltoni Robson. Malacologia 10:323-332.
- Robson, G.C. (1925). On Mesonychoteuthis, a new genus of oegopsid, Cephalopoda. Annals and Magazine of Natural History, Series 9, 16:272-277.
- Rodhouse, P.G. & M.R. Clarke (1985). Growth and distribution of young Mesonychoteuthis hamiltoni Robson (Mollusca: Cephalopoda): an Antarctic squid. Vie Milieu 35(3/4):223–230.
- Roper, C.F.E. & G.L. Voss (1983). Guidelines for taxonomic descriptions of cephalopod species. Memoirs of the National Museum of Victoria 44:49-63.
- Yukhov, V.L. (1974). The discovery of giant squids. Priroda, Moscow, 1974(6):60-63, 3 figures. (Russian)
- Voss, N.A. (1980). A generic revision of the Cranchiidae (Cephalopoda; Oegopsida). Bull. Mar. Sci. 30:365-412.
- Xavier, J.C., P.G. Rodhouse, P.N. Trathan & A.G. Wood (1999). "A Geographical Information System (GIS) Atlas of cephalopod distribution in the Southern Ocean.". Antarctic Science 11:61-62. online version
- Xavier, J.C. & Y. Cherel (2009). "Cephalopod Beak Guide for the Southern Ocean." (PDF). British Antarctic Survey, Cambridge. 129 pp.
- Xavier, J.C., J. Roberts & D. Agnew (2012). "P133 - Feeding ecology of toothfish species as a means for characterising the slope megafauna of the South Sandwich Islands, Southern Ocean." (PDF). In: Cephalopod International Advisory Council Symposium, 27 Oct - 02 Nov 2012, Majestic Palace Hotel, Florianópolis, SC, Brazil: Abstracts. Instituto Argonauta. p. 233.