List of giant squid specimens and sightings

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The earliest known photograph of an intact giant squid, showing the arms, tentacles and buccal region of the head (including beak) of a specimen from Logy Bay, Newfoundland (#29 on this list), draped over Reverend Moses Harvey's sponge bath, November 1873. Harvey wrote in his journal: "I knew that I had in my possession what all the savants in the world did not […] what the museums in the world did not contain […] A photograph could not lie and would silence the gainsayers" (Frank, 2014:246; Offord, 2016). The photograph includes contemporaneous annotations by zoologist Addison Emery Verrill, including a 1-foot scale bar (top left) and detailed marginal notes.[nb 1]

This list of giant squid specimens and sightings is a comprehensive timeline of recorded human encounters with members of the genus Architeuthis, popularly known as giant squid. It includes animals that were caught by fishermen, found washed ashore, recovered (in whole or in part) from sperm whales and other predatory species, as well as those reliably sighted at sea. The list also covers specimens incorrectly assigned to the genus Architeuthis in original descriptions or later publications.


French corvette Alecton attempts to capture a giant squid in 1861 (#18). This incident almost certainly inspired the depiction of the giant squid in Jules Verne's 1870 novel Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea (Ellis, 1998a:79).

History of discovery[edit]

Tales of giant squid have been common among mariners since ancient times, but the animals were long considered mythical and often associated with the kraken of Nordic legend (Rees, 1949; Salvador & Tomotani, 2014; Hogenboom, 2014). The giant squid did not gain widespread scientific acceptance until specimens became available to zoologists in the second half of the 19th century, beginning with the formal naming of Architeuthis dux by Japetus Steenstrup in 1857, from fragmentary Bahamian material collected two years earlier (#14 on this list; Steenstrup, 1857:183; validated in Harting, 1860:11).[nb 2] The giant squid came to public prominence in 1861 when the French corvette Alecton encountered a live animal (#18) at the surface while navigating near Tenerife. A report of the incident filed by the ship's captain (Bouyer, 1861) was almost certainly seen by Jules Verne and adapted by him for the description of the monstrous squid in Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea (Ellis, 1998a:79).

The giant squid's existence was established beyond doubt only in the 1870s, with the appearance of an extraordinary number of complete specimens—both dead and alive—in Newfoundland waters (beginning with #21; Lee, 1875:111; Earle, 1977; McConvey, 2015). These were meticulously documented in a series of papers by Yale zoologist Addison Emery Verrill (Coe, 1929:36; G.E. Verrill, 1958:69).[nb 3] Among the earliest known photographs of the giant squid were of two of these Newfoundland specimens, both from 1873: first a single severed tentacle—hacked off a live animal as it "attacked" a fishing boat (#28; Murray, 1874b:121)—and weeks later an intact animal in two parts (#29);[nb 4] the head and limbs of this latter specimen were famously shown draped over the sponge bath of Moses Harvey, a local clergyman, essayist, and amateur naturalist (Aldrich, 1987:109; Frank, 2014). Harvey secured and reported widely on both of these important specimens—as well as numerous others (most notably the Catalina specimen of 1877; #42)—and it was largely through his efforts that giant squid became known to North American and British zoologists (Aldrich, 1987:115). Recognition of Architeuthis as a real animal led to the reappraisal of earlier reports of gigantic tentacled sea creatures, with some of these subsequently being accepted as records of giant squid, the earliest stretching back to at least the 17th century (Ellis, 1994a:379, 1998a:257; Sweeney & Roper, 2001:[27]).

For a time in the late 19th century almost every major specimen of which material was saved was described as a new species. In all, some twenty species names were coined (Sweeney & Young, 2003). However, there is no widely agreed basis for distinguishing between the named species, and both morphological and genetic data point to the existence of a single, globally distributed species, which according to the principle of priority must be known by the earliest available name: Architeuthis dux (Aldrich, 1991:474; Förch, 1998:93; Winkelmann et al., 2013; Guerra et al., 2013).

It is not known why giant squid become stranded on shore, but it may be because the distribution of deep, cold water where they live is temporarily altered. Marine biologist and Architeuthis specialist Frederick Aldrich proposed that there may be a periodicity to the strandings around Newfoundland, and based on historical data suggested an average interval between mass strandings of some 30 years. Aldrich used this value to correctly predict a relatively small stranding event between 1964 and 1966 (beginning with #170; Aldrich, 1967a, 1968). Although strandings continue to occur sporadically throughout the world, few have been as frequent as those in Newfoundland in the late 19th century.[nb 5] A notable exception was a 15-month period between 2014 and 2015, during which an unprecedented 57 specimens were recorded from Japanese coastal waters of the Sea of Japan (beginning with #518; Kubodera et al., 2016; see also Sakamoto, 2014).

Though the total number of recorded giant squid specimens now runs into the hundreds, the species remains notoriously elusive and little known. Attempts to capture a glimpse of a live giant squid—described as "the most elusive image in natural history" (Ellis, 1998a:211)—were mooted since at least the 1960s (Oreskes, 2003:716, 2014:29). Efforts intensified significantly towards the end of the century, with the launch of several multi-million-dollar expeditions in the late 1990s, though these were all unsuccessful. The first years of the 21st century saw a number of breakthroughs in live giant squid imaging (Baird, 2002; Kubodera, 2010) that ultimately culminated in the first recording of a live animal (#507) in its natural deep-water habitat—from a manned submersible off Japan's Ogasawara Islands—in July 2012 ([NHK], 2013a, b; Dery, 2013). Despite these recent advances and the growing number of both specimens and recordings of live animals, the species continues to occupy a unique place in the public imagination (Guerra et al., 2011:1990). As Roper et al. (2015:83) wrote: "Few events in the natural world stimulate more excitement and curiosity among scientists and laymen alike than the discovery of a specimen of Architeuthis."

Distribution patterns[edit]

Locations of the 57 giant squid specimens encountered in the Sea of Japan between January 2014 and March 2015, in what remains the largest mass appearance of this species ever recorded, from Kubodera et al. (2016). The two maps show specimens (numbered chronologically) from the two main stranding events in January–May 2014 (A; spanning #518 to 543) and September 2014–March 2015 (B; spanning #544 to 577).
Map all coordinates using: OpenStreetMap 
Download coordinates as: KML · GPX

The genus Architeuthis has a cosmopolitan (Okutani, 2015) or bi-subtropical distribution (Nesis, 2003). The greatest numbers of specimens have been recorded in the North Atlantic around Newfoundland (historically) and the Iberian Peninsula (more recently; Laria, N.d.), in the South Atlantic off South Africa and Namibia, in the northwestern Pacific off Japan (especially more recently; Kubodera et al., 2016), and in the southwestern Pacific around New Zealand and Australia (Roper & Shea, 2013:111). The vast majority of specimens are of oceanic origin, including marginal seas broadly open to adjacent ocean, especially the Tasman Sea and Sea of Japan, but also the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea (Roper et al., 2015), among others. A handful are known from the far western Mediterranean Sea (#380, 427, 469, and 508), but these records do not necessarily indicate that the Mediterranean falls within the natural range of the giant squid, as the specimens may have been transported there by inflowing Atlantic water (Roper & Shea, 2013:111). Similarly, giant squid are unlikely to naturally occur in the North Sea owing to its shallow depth (Roper & Shea, 2013:111; but see e.g. #108). They are generally absent from equatorial and high polar latitudes (Roper & Jereb, 2010:121).

Total number of specimens[edit]

According to Guerra et al. (2006), 592 confirmed giant squid specimens were known as of the end of 2004. Of these, 306 came from the Atlantic Ocean, 264 from the Pacific Ocean, 20 from the Indian Ocean, and 2 from the Mediterranean Sea. The figures for specimens collected in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans further broke down as follows: 148 in the northeastern Atlantic, 126 in the northwestern Atlantic, 26 in the southeastern Atlantic, 6 in the southwestern Atlantic, 43 in the northeastern Pacific, 28 in the northwestern Pacific, 10 in the southeastern Pacific, and 183 in the southwestern Pacific (Guerra et al., 2006).

Guerra & González (2009) reported that the total number of recorded giant squid specimens stood at 624. Guerra et al. (2011) gave an updated figure of 677 specimens (see table below). Paxton (2016a) put the total at around 700 as of 2015, of which c. 460 had been measured in some way. This number has increased substantially in recent years, with 57 specimens recorded from the Sea of Japan over an extraordinary 15-month period in 2014–2015 (beginning with #518; Kubodera et al., 2016). The giant squid nevertheless remains a rarely encountered animal, especially considering its large size, with Ellis (1994a:133) writing that "each giant squid that washes up or is taken from the stomach of a sperm whale is still an occasion for a teuthological celebration".

Giant squid at the surface with an approaching ship in the background, from a painting by Herbert B. Judy, 1905. Specimens found stranded or floating at the surface constitute almost 50% of all records from the Atlantic Ocean (Guerra et al., 2011; see table).
Records of giant squid specimens sorted by region and method of capture (from Guerra et al., 2011)
Region Number of specimens % of total Found stranded or floating (%) From fishing (%) From predators (%) Method of capture unknown (%)
NE Atlantic 152 22.5 49 31 15 5
NW Atlantic 148 21.9 61 30 1 8
SE Atlantic 60* 8.9 10 60 17 13
SW Atlantic 6 0.9 50 16 1 33
NE Pacific 43 6.4 7 56 30 7
NW Pacific 30* 4.4 30 35 30 5
SE Pacific 10 1.5 90 10 0 0
SW Pacific 183 27.0 12 41 42 5
Indian Ocean 33** 4.8 6 94 0 0
W Mediterranean 3 0.4 100 0 0 0
Equatorial/tropical 9 1.3 11 44 45 0
All regions 677 100.0
* Underestimates according to Guerra et al. (2011).
** Includes records from Durban, South Africa.

Procurement and display[edit]

Preserved giant squid specimens are much sought after for display (Landman & Ellis, 1998; Ablett, 2012). Guerra et al. (2011:1990) estimated that around 30 were exhibited at museums and aquaria worldwide, while Guerra & Segonzac (2014:118–119) provided an updated list of 35 (21 in national museums and 14 in private institutions; see table below). The purpose-built Centro del Calamar Gigante in Luarca, Spain, had by far the largest collection on public display (4 females and 1 male; Guerra & Segonzac, 2014:118), but many of the museum's 14 or so total specimens were destroyed during a storm on 2 February 2014 ([Anonymous], 2014a, b). At least 13 specimens were exhibited in Japan as of February 2017, of which 10 had been acquired since 2013 (Shimada et al., 2017:9).

Giant squid specimen on display in the Sant Ocean Hall of the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C., as it appeared in 2008. Caught in Spanish waters in July 2005, it is one of two giant squid on display at the museum (both donated by CEPESMA of Luarca, Spain) and one of the few publicly exhibited male specimens.
Partial list of giant squid specimens on public display as of 2014 (Guerra & Segonzac, 2014:118–119)
Institution Location Country Type Specimen(s)
American Museum of Natural History New York City, New York United States national museum 1 female (#373)
Auckland University of Technology Auckland, North Island New Zealand private 1 female (200 kg)
Aula del Mar Málaga / Museo Alborania Málaga, Andalusia Spain private 1 female (#380)
Centro de Gestión del Medio Marino del Estrecho (Regional Government of Andalusia) Algeciras, Andalusia Spain private 1 female (90 kg)
Centro del Calamar Gigante Luarca, Asturias Spain national museum 4 females; 1 male
Deep Sea World North Queensferry, Scotland United Kingdom private 1 female
Florida Museum of Natural History Gainesville, Florida United States national museum 1 female (#502)
Georgia Aquarium Atlanta, Georgia United States private 1 female (#240)
Iziko South African Museum Cape Town, Western Cape South Africa national museum 1 female (1.8 m ML)
Kaikoura Marine Centre and Aquarium Kaikoura, South Island New Zealand private 1 female (#509)
Kelly Tarlton's Sea Life Aquarium Auckland, North Island New Zealand private 1 female
Melbourne Museum Melbourne, Victoria Australia national museum 1 female (12 m TL; 170 kg)
Mote Aquarium Sarasota, Florida United States private 1 female (#396)
Museo de Historia Natural (Sociedade Galega de Historia Natural) Ferrol, Galicia Spain national museum 1 female (90 kg)
Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales Madrid, Community of Madrid Spain national museum 1 female (#427)
Muséum national d'histoire naturelle Paris, Île-de-France France national museum 1 female (#414)
Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa Wellington, North Island New Zealand national museum 1 female
Museu Oceanográfico do Portinho da Arrábida Setúbal, Lisboa Region Portugal national museum 1 male (mature; 2 m TL; 60 kg)
National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research Auckland, North Island New Zealand private 1 female
National Marine Aquarium Plymouth, England United Kingdom private 1 female (#441)
National Museum of Natural History Washington, D.C. United States national museum 1 female (13 m TL); 1 male (6 m TL)
National Museum of Nature and Science Taito City, Tokyo Japan national museum 1 female (#370)
National Museum of Scotland Edinburgh, Scotland United Kingdom national museum 1 female
Natural History Museum London, England United Kingdom national museum 1 female (#463)
Naturalis Biodiversity Center Leiden, South Holland Netherlands private 1 male (#260)
Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium Motobu, Okinawa Prefecture Japan private 1 female (#342)
Queensland Museum (ex Melbourne Aquarium) Melbourne, Victoria Australia private 1 female (#467)
Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery Hobart, Tasmania Australia national museum 2 females (#444 and 475)
The Rooms (ex Memorial University of Newfoundland) St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador Canada private 1 female (#254)

Reported sizes[edit]

Giant squid found at Ranheim in Trondheimsfjord, Norway, on 2 October 1954 (#137), being examined by Professors Erling Sivertsen and Svein Haftorn. This specimen measured 9.24 m in total length and had a mantle length of 1.79 m.

Giant squid size—long a subject of both popular debate and academic inquiry (Ellis, 1998b; Paxton, 2016a, b; Bittel, 2016; Romanov et al., 2017)—has often been misreported and exaggerated. Reports of specimens reaching or even exceeding 18 m (59 ft) in total length are widespread, but no animals approaching this size have been scientifically documented in recent times, despite the hundreds of specimens available for study. The 55 ft (16.76 m) "Thimble Tickle specimen" (#45) reported by Verrill (1880a:191) is often cited as the largest giant squid ever recorded, and the 55 ft 2 in (16.81 m) specimen described by Kirk (1888) as Architeuthis longimanus (#62)—a strangely proportioned animal that has been much commented on[nb 6]—is sometimes cited as the longest (O'Shea & Bolstad, 2008; Paxton, 2016a). It is now thought likely that such lengths were achieved by great lengthening of the two long feeding tentacles, analogous to stretching elastic bands, or resulted from inadequate measurement methods such as pacing (O'Shea & Bolstad, 2008; Dery, 2013; Roper & Shea, 2013:113; Hanlon & Messenger, 2018:267).

Based on a 40-year data set of more than 50 giant squid (Architeuthis dux) specimens, Roper & Shea (2013:114) suggest an average total length at maturity of 11 m (36 ft) and a "rarely encountered maximum length" of 14–15 m (46–49 ft). Of the nearly 100 specimens examined by Clyde Roper, the largest was "46 feet (14 m) long" (Cerullo & Roper, 2012:22). Yukhov (2014:242) gives a maximum total length of 11.8 m (39 ft) based on records from the southern hemisphere; Remeslo (2011) gives 13.1 m (43 ft). O'Shea & Bolstad (2008) give a maximum total length of 13 m (43 ft) for females based on the examination of more than 130 specimens, measured post mortem and relaxed, as well as beaks recovered from sperm whales (which do not exceed the size of those found in the largest complete specimens). Steve O'Shea estimated the maximum total length for males at 10 m (33 ft) (O'Shea, 2003b). Charles G. M. Paxton performed a statistical analysis using literature records of giant squid specimens and concluded that "squid with a conservative TL of 20 m [66 ft] would seem likely based on current data" (Paxton, 2016a, b), but the study has been heavily criticised by experts in the field (Greshko, 2016).

Frequency distribution of total length, mantle length, and mass in Architeuthis dux, from McClain et al. (2015). The 2,000 lb (910 kg) extreme outlier (#22) is sourced from Verrill (1880a) and is unlikely to be accurate; the next most massive individual in the data set was only 700 lb (320 kg), and 95% of specimens were below 250 kg (550 lb) (McClain et al., 2015).

O'Shea & Bolstad (2008) give a maximum mantle length of 225 cm (7.38 ft) based on the examination of more than 130 specimens, as well as beaks recovered from sperm whales (which do not exceed the size of those found in the largest complete specimens), though there are recent scientific records of specimens that slightly exceed this size (such as #362, a 240 cm (7.9 ft) ML female captured off Tasmania, Australia, reported by Landman et al., 2004:686 and cited by Roper & Shea, 2013:114). Remeslo (2011) and Yukhov (2014:248) give a maximum mantle length of 260 cm (8.5 ft) for females from southern waters. Questionable records of up to 500 cm (16 ft) ML can be found in older literature (Roper & Jereb, 2010:121). Paxton (2016a) accepts a maximum recorded ML of 279 cm (9.15 ft), based on the Lyall Bay specimen (#47) reported by Kirk (1880:312), but this record has been called into question as the gladius of this specimen was said to be only 190 cm (6.2 ft) long (Greshko, 2016).

Including the head and arms but excluding the tentacles (standard length, SL), the species very rarely exceeds 5 m (16 ft) according to O'Shea & Bolstad (2008). Paxton (2016a) considers 9.45 m (31.0 ft) to be the greatest reliably measured SL, based on a specimen (#46) reported by Verrill (1880a:192), and considers specimens of 10 m (33 ft) SL or more to be "very probable", but these conclusions have been criticised by giant squid experts (Greshko, 2016).

O'Shea (2003b) put the maximum weight of female giant squid at 275 kg (606 lb), based on the examination of some 105 specimens as well as beaks recovered from sperm whales (which do not exceed the size of those found in the largest complete specimens; some of the heaviest recent specimens include #465 and 486). Giant squid are sexually size dimorphic, with the maximum weight for males estimated at 150 kg (330 lb) (O'Shea, 2003b), though heavier specimens have occasionally been reported (see #401 for 190 kg (420 lb) specimen). Similarly, Remeslo (2011) and Yukhov (2014:248) give maximum masses of 250–260 kg (550–570 lb) and 150 kg (330 lb) for females and males, respectively, based on records from southern latitudes. Roper & Jereb (2010:121) give a maximum weight of up to 500 kg (1,100 lb), and "possibly greater". Discredited weights of as much as a tonne (2,200 lb) or more are not uncommon in older literature (see e.g. #22, 115, and 118; O'Shea & Bolstad, 2008).

Species identifications[edit]

The taxonomy of the giant squid genus Architeuthis has not been entirely resolved. Lumpers and splitters may propose as many as eight species or as few as one, with most authors recognising either one cosmopolitan species (A. dux) or three geographically disparate species: A. dux from the Atlantic, A. martensi from the North Pacific, and A. sanctipauli from the Southern Ocean (Ellis, 1998a:73; Norman, 2000:150; Roper & Jereb, 2010:121). Historically, some twenty species names (not counting new combinations) and eight genus names have been applied to architeuthids (see Type specimens; Sweeney & Young, 2003). No genetic or physical basis for distinguishing between the named species has been proposed (Glaubrecht & Salcedo-Vargas, 2004:62), though specimens from the North Pacific do not appear to reach the maximum dimensions seen in giant squid from other areas (Roper & Jereb, 2010:123). There may also be regional differences in the relative proportions of the tentacles and their sucker counts (see Roeleveld, 2002). The mitogenomic analysis of Winkelmann et al. (2013) supports the existence of a single, globally distributed species (A. dux; [UCPH], 2013). The same conclusion was reached by Förch (1998) on the basis of morphological data.

The literature on giant squid has been further muddied by the frequent misattribution of various squid specimens to the genus Architeuthis, often based solely on their large size. In the academic literature alone, such misidentifications encompass at least the oegopsid families Chiroteuthidae (misidentification #[8]Asperoteuthis lui), Cranchiidae (#[5] and [6]Mesonychoteuthis hamiltoni), Ommastrephidae (#[1]Sthenoteuthis pteropus and #[2]Dosidicus gigas), Onychoteuthidae (#[7] and [11]Onykia robusta), and Psychroteuthidae (#[4]—indeterminate species) (see Ellis, 1998a; Salcedo-Vargas, 1999; Glaubrecht & Salcedo-Vargas, 2004). Many more misidentifications have been propagated in the popular press, involving—among others—Megalocranchia cf. fisheri (#[12]; Cranchiidae), Thysanoteuthis rhombus (#[10]; Thysanoteuthidae), and an egg mass of Nototodarus gouldi (#[9]; Ommastrephidae). This situation is further confused by the occasional usage of the common name 'giant squid' in reference to large squids of other genera (Robson, 1933:681).

List of giant squid[edit]

Sourcing and progenitors[edit]

Michael J. Sweeney (left) and Clyde F. E. Roper (center) with a giant squid (#240) being prepared for display at the National Museum of Natural History in 1983. Sweeney compiled the list on which the present one is based; Roper, an expert on Architeuthis, wrote its introduction (Sweeney & Roper, 2001).

The present list generally follows "Records of Architeuthis Specimens from Published Reports", compiled by zoologist Michael J. Sweeney of the Smithsonian Institution and including records through 1999 (Sweeney & Roper, 2001), with additional information taken from other sources (see Full citations). While Sweeney's list is sourced almost entirely from the scientific literature, many of the more recent specimens are supported by reports from the news media, including newspapers and magazines, radio and television broadcasts, and online sources.

Earlier efforts to compile a list of all known giant squid encounters throughout history include those of marine writer and artist Richard Ellis (Ellis, 1994a:379–384, 1998a:257–265). Ellis's second list, published as an appendix to his 1998 book The Search for the Giant Squid, comprises 166 entries spanning four and a half centuries, from 1545 to 1996 ([Anonymous], 1999:109). Records which appear in Ellis's 1998 list but are not found in Sweeney & Roper's 2001 list have a citation to Ellis (1998a)—in the page range 257–265—in the 'Additional references' column of the main table.[nb 7]

In addition to these global specimen lists, a number of regional compilations have been published, including Aldrich (1991) for Newfoundland, Okiyama (1993) for the Sea of Japan, Förch (1998:105–110) for New Zealand, Guerra et al. (2006:258–259) for Asturias, Spain, and Roper et al. (2015) for the western North Atlantic. Works exhaustively enumerating all recorded specimens from a particular mass appearance event include those of Verrill (1882c) for Newfoundland in 1870–1881 and Kubodera et al. (2016) for the Sea of Japan in 2014–2015. Though the number of authenticated giant squid records now runs into the hundreds, individual specimens still generate considerable scientific interest and continue to have scholarly papers unto themselves (e.g. Leite et al., 2016; Funaki, 2017; Romanov et al., 2017; Shimada et al., 2017; Guerra et al., 2018).

Scope and inclusion criteria[edit]

The list includes records of giant squid (genus Architeuthis) either supported by a physical specimen (or parts thereof) or—in the absence of any saved material—where at least one of the following conditions is satisfied: the specimen was examined by an expert prior to disposal and thereby positively identified as a giant squid; a photograph or video recording of the specimen was taken, on the basis of which it was assigned to the genus Architeuthis by a recognised authority; or the record was accepted as being that of a giant squid by a contemporary expert or later authority (whether due to the perceived credibility of the source, the verisimilitude of the account, or for any other reason).

Nineteenth century engraving by W. A. Cranston of a giant squid attacking a boat (see #28). Only sightings deemed authentic by published experts are included in the list.

Purported sightings of giant squid lacking both physical and documentary evidence and expert appraisal are generally excluded, with the exception of those appearing in the lists of Ellis (1994a:379–384), Ellis (1998a:257–265), or Sweeney & Roper (2001) (see e.g. "attacks" of #32 and 107).[nb 8] In particular, "sea monster" sightings—many of which have been attributed to giant squid by various authors—fall short of this standard.[nb 9]

The earliest records of very large squid date to classical antiquity and the writings of Aristotle and Pliny the Elder (Gerhardt, 1966:171; Muntz, 1995; Ellis, 1998a:11; see Aristotle, c. 350 BC; Pliny, AD 77–79). But in the absence of detailed descriptions or surviving remains, it is not possible to assign these to the giant squid genus Architeuthis with any confidence, and they are therefore not included in this list. Basque and Portuguese cod fishermen observed what were likely giant squid carcasses in the waters of the Grand Banks of Newfoundland as early as the 16th century (Roper et al., 2015:78), but conclusive evidence is similarly lacking. The earliest specimens identifiable as true giant squid are generally accepted to be ones from the early modern period in the 17th and 18th centuries (Ellis, 1994a:379), and possibly as far back as the 16th century (#1; Ellis, 1998a:257; Sweeney & Roper, 2001:[27]; Guerra et al., 2004a:428; but see Paxton & Holland, 2005).

All developmental stages from hatchling to mature adult are included. In the literature there is a single anecdotal account of a giant squid "egg case" (Gudger, 1953:199; Lane, 1957:129; Ellis, 1994a:144), but this is excluded due to a lack of substantiating evidence (see misidentification #[9] for possible egg mass later determined to be that of the arrow squid, Nototodarus gouldi). Indirect evidence of giant squid—such as sucker scars found on sperm whales—falls outside the scope of this list.

Specimens misassigned to the genus Architeuthis in print publications or news reports are also included, but are clearly highlighted as misidentifications.

List of specimens[edit]

Records are listed chronologically in ascending order and numbered accordingly. This numbering is not meant to be definitive but rather to provide a convenient means of referring to individual records. Specimens incorrectly assigned to the genus Architeuthis are counted separately, their numbers enclosed in square brackets, and are highlighted in pink (    ). Records that cover multiple giant squid specimens, or remains of more than a single animal (e.g. two lower beaks), have the 'Material cited' cell highlighted in grey (    ). Animals that were photographed or filmed while alive (all from the 21st century) are highlighted in yellow (    ). Where a record falls into more than one of these categories, a combination of shadings is used. Where an image of a specimen is available this is indicated by a camera symbol (📷) that links to the image.

Giant squid (Architeuthis dux), modified from an illustration by Addison Emery Verrill (Verrill, 1880a: pl. 20; based on #42), showing the exceptionally long feeding tentacles, which are often missing or damaged in recovered specimens. Some of the more extreme published giant squid measurements have been attributed to artificial lengthening of these tentacles (O'Shea & Bolstad, 2008). Almost the entire bulk of the animal—that is, the mantle, head, and arms—takes up less than half of its total length; the absence of the tentacles, therefore, has a great effect on the animal's total length but very little on its mass.
  • Date – Date on which the specimen was first captured, found, or observed. Where this is unknown, the date on which the specimen was first reported is listed instead and noted as such. All times are local.
  • Location – Area where the specimen was encountered, including coordinates and depth information where available. Given as it appears in the cited reference(s), except where additional information is provided in square brackets. The quadrant of a major ocean in which the specimen was found is given in curly brackets (e.g. {NEA}; see Oceanic sectors).
  • Nature of encounter – Circumstances in which the specimen was recovered or observed. Given as they appear in the cited reference(s), although "washed ashore" encompasses all stranded animals.
  • Identification – Species- or genus-level taxon to which the specimen was assigned. Given as it appears in the cited reference(s). Listed chronologically if specimen was re-identified. These designations are primarily of historical interest as most authorities now recognise a single species of giant squid: Architeuthis dux. Where only a vernacular name has been applied to the specimen (e.g. "giant squid" or a non-English equivalent), this is given instead.
  • Material cited – Original specimen material that was recovered or observed. "Entire" encompasses all more-or-less complete specimens. Names of anatomical features are retained from original sources (e.g. "jaws" may be given instead of the preferred "beak", or "body" instead of "mantle"). The specimen's state of preservation is also given, where known, and any missing parts enumerated (the tentacles, arm tips, reddish skin and eyes are the parts most often missing in stranded specimens, owing to their delicate nature and/or preferential targeting by scavengers).
  • Material saved – Material that was kept after examination and not discarded (if any). Information may be derived from outdated sources; material may no longer be extant even if stated as such.
  • 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. Measurements are given as they appear in the cited reference(s), with both arithmetic precision and original units preserved (though metric conversions are shown alongside imperial measurements), though some of the more extreme lengths and weights found in older literature have since been discredited.
  • Repository – Institution in which the specimen material is deposited (based on cited sources; may not be current), including accession numbers where available. Institutional acronyms 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. Type specimens, such as holotypes or syntypes, are identified as such in boldface. If an author has given a specimen a unique identifying number (e.g. Verrill specimen No. 28), this is included as well, whether or not the specimen is extant.
  • Main references – The most important sources, typically ones that provide extensive data and/or analysis on a particular specimen (often primary sources). Presented in author–date parenthetical referencing style, with page numbers included where applicable (those in square brackets refer either to unpaginated works or English translations of originally non-English works; see Full citations). Only the first page of relevant coverage is given, except where this is discontinuous. Any relevant figures ("figs.") and plates ("pls.") are enumerated.
  • Additional references – References of lesser importance or primacy, either because they provide less substantive information on a given record (often secondary sources), or else because they are not easily obtainable or possibly even extant (e.g. old newspaper articles, personal correspondence, and television broadcasts) but nonetheless mentioned in more readily accessible published works (see Full citations).
  • Notes – Miscellaneous information, often including individuals and vessels involved in the specimen's recovery and subsequent handling, and any dissections, preservation work or scientific analyses carried out on the specimen. Where animals have been recorded while alive this is also noted. Material not referable to the genus Architeuthis, as well as specimens on public display, are both highlighted in bold (as "Non-architeuthid" and "On public display", respectively), though the latter information may no longer be current.
# Date Location Nature of encounter Identification Material cited Material saved Sex Size and measurements Repository Main references Additional references      Notes     
c. 1546 Øresund, near Malmö, Denmark–Norway [since 1658 Malmö has been part of Sweden]
Found washed ashore; "caught live" [fide Muus (1959:170)] "Japetus Steenstrup delivered a lecture in 1854 with a strong suggestion that the 'soemunk' was an Architeuthis." [fide Muus (1959)]; Architeuthis monachus Steenstrup in Harting, 1860; Squatina squatina (angelshark) [fide Paxton & Holland (2005:39)] Entire? Undetermined ?WL: ~3 m Belon (1553:38, fig.); Belon (1555:32, fig.); Gessner (1558:438, fig.); Steenstrup (1855a:63, 3 figs.); Lönnberg (1891:36); Roeleveld & Knudsen (1980:293); Ellis (1998a:60); Paxton & Holland (2005:39, fig. 1) Nordgård (1928:71); Muus (1959:170); Russell & Russell (1975:94); Aldrich (1980:55) Drawings of animal sent by Christian III of Denmark to Holy Roman Emperor Charles V (then in Spain) sometime between 1545 and 1550. Mentioned in the writings of 16th century naturalists Pierre Belon, Guillaume Rondelet, and Conrad Gesner (in his encyclopedic Historia Animalium), though giant squid identity first proposed by Japetus Steenstrup in lecture on 26 November 1854. Muus (1959) wrote: "From contemporary descriptions with accompanying woodcuts it appears that the animal was regarded as a 'soemunk'." Paxton & Holland (2005:39) concluded that the specimen "was unlikely to have been a giant squid [...] The most likely alternative suspect would be the angelshark Squatina squatina". The similar sea bishop has also been interpreted as a giant squid carcass (Barber & Riches, 1971:26; Aldrich, 1980:57), or a Jenny Haniver made from a skate (Russell & Russell, 1975:97).
2 Autumn 1639 "Thingøre Sand, Nordresyssel" or "Thingøresand, Hunevandsyssel", Iceland
Found washed ashore Architeuthis sp. Entire One arm BL+HL: ~6 ft (1.8 m); AL: ~3 ft (0.91 m); TL: ~16–18 ft (4.9–5.5 m); BC: ~3–4 ft (0.91–1.22 m) Thingøre monastery; "museum at Copenhagen" (ZMUC?) [fide Packard (1873:87)] Jónsson (1639); Ólafsson (1772:716); Steenstrup (1849:[9]); Steenstrup (1898:425/[272]); Ellis (1998a:65) Packard (1873:87); Verrill (1875b:84); Robson (1933:691); Muus (1959:170)
~15 October 1673 Dingle-I-cosh, Kerry, Ireland
Found floating at surface, in process of washing ashore, alive Dinoteuthis proboscideus More, 1875; Architeuthis monachus [fide Verrill]; Ommastrephes (Architeuthis) monachus [fide Tryon (1879b:185)] Entire Two arms, buccal mass, and suckers taken to Dublin TL: ~11 ft (3.4 m) + 9 ft (2.7 m); AL: ~6–8 ft (1.8–2.4 m); "liver": 30 lb (14 kg) Undetermined [NMI?]; holotype of Dinoteuthis proboscideus More, 1875 [Anonymous] (c. 1673); Hooke et al. (c. 1674:[1], fig.); More (1875a:4526); Verrill (1875c:214); Tryon (1879b:185); Ellis (1998a:66); Sueur-Hermel (2017:64) More (1875b:4571); Massy (1909:30); Ritchie (1918:137); Robson (1933:692); Rees (1950:40); Hardy (1956:285); Collins (1998:489) Found by James Steward. Original material relating to this specimen consists of: a broadsheet printed in London with three letters (two from Thomas Hooke and one from Thomas Clear) together with a description and illustration (Hooke et al., c. 1674); a fourth letter in manuscript (see More, 1875a); a broadsheet printed in Dublin to be distributed as a handbill ([Anonymous], c. 1673); and an eight-page booklet printed in London with a woodcut reproduction of the illustration in the broadsheet (both originating from a painting on canvas brought to London, as it was impossible to preserve the carcass; see Sueur-Hermel, 2017).
4 1680 Ulvangen Fjord, Alstadhoug parish, Norway
Not stated Entire? Pontoppidan (1752:34?/344?) Steenstrup (1857:[18]); Grieg (1933:19)
5 1770 Jutland, Denmark
Unknown Muss (1959) Ellis (1998a:257)
6 27 May 1785 Grand Banks, Newfoundland
Found floating dead Architeuthis sp. BL: 7 ft (2.1 m) Thomas (1795:183); Aldrich (1991:457) Data from Capt. G. Cartwright.
7 November or December 1790 Arnarnaesvik, Modruvalle, Iceland
Found washed ashore Entire None; used for cod bait "longest tentacula": >3 fathoms (5.5 m); "body right from the head": 3.5 fathoms (6.4 m); "so thick that a fullgrown man could hardly embrace it with his arms" Steenstrup (1849:[11]); Steenstrup (1898:429/[276]); Ellis (1998a:68) February 1792 diary of Sveinn Pálsson (in library of Icelandic Literary Society, in Copenhagen); Verrill (1875b:84); Robson (1933:691) Called Kolkrabbe ('coal-crab') by local people.
8 17-- (reported 1795) Freshwater Bay, near mouth of St. John's harbour, Newfoundland
Unknown Architeuthis sp. Thomas (1795:183); Aldrich (1991:457)
9 17-- Grand Banks, Newfoundland
Unknown Architeuthis sp. Aldrich (1991:457)
10 1798 north coast of Denmark
Not stated "gigantic squid" Unknown "museum at Copenhagen" (ZMUC?) Packard (1873:87) Ellis (1998a:257)
11 9 January 1802 off Tasmania, Australia
Found at surface, alive ?Loligo ["vraisemblablement du genre Calmar [Loligo, Lamarck]"] "size of a barrel" ["grosseur d'un tonneau"]; AL: 1.9–2.2 m; AD: 18–21 cm Péron (1807:216) Quoy & Gaimard (1824:411); Ellis (1998a:257) Péron (1807:216) wrote: "it rolled with noise in the midst of the waves, and its long arms, stretched out on their surface, stirred like so many enormous reptiles" (translated from French).
12 1817–1820 Atlantic Ocean, near equator
Found floating at surface "énorme calmar" Partial remains; "tentacles" ("tentacules") missing WT: 100 "livres" [estimate]; WT: 200 "livres" [estimate; if complete] Quoy & Gaimard (1824:411) Packard (1873:88); Ellis (1998a:257) Found at surface in calm weather. Quoy & Gaimard (1824:411) opined: "it is easy to imagine that one of these terrible molluscs could readily remove a man from a fairly large boat, but not a medium-tonnage vessel, still less tilting this vessel and endangering it, as some would like to believe" (translated from French).
December 1853 Raabjerg beach, North Jutland, coast of Skagerack, Denmark
Found washed ashore Architeuthis monachus Entire Jaws only; radula discarded after poor preservation; jaws cut out; portion used for bait; remainder buried after 2 days WT: 80–85 kg; jaw measurements Steenstrup (1898:423/[270]) ZMUC; holotype of Architeuthis monachus Steenstrup, 1857 [fide Kristensen & Knudsen (1983:222)] Steenstrup (1855b:[14]); Harting (1860:11); Steenstrup (1898:415/[258], pl. 1 figs. 1–2); Kristensen & Knudsen (1983:222) Steenstrup (1857:[18]); Packard (1873:87); Gervais (1875:91); Verrill (1875b:84); Verrill (1880a:238, pl. 25 fig. 3); Verrill (1882c:51, pl. 12 fig. 3); Posselt (1890:144); Nordgård (1928:71) "Architeuthis monachus" Steenstrup = nomen nudum [fide Robson (1933:690)].
5 November 1855 western Atlantic Ocean, near Bahamas (31°N 76°W / 31°N 76°W / 31; -76 (Giant squid specimen))
Not stated; presumably found floating at surface Architeuthis dux Steenstrup, 1857; Architeuthis titan [fide Verrill (1875)] Arm, suckers, and gladius Arm, suckers, and gladius Male WL: 377 cm; AL: 1/2 whole length [fide Steenstrup]; beak measurements; GL: 6 ft (1.8 m) [fide Verrill citing Harting] ZMUC; holotype of Architeuthis dux Steenstrup, 1857 [fide Kristensen & Knudsen (1983:222)]; ZMB Moll. 34798 (single sucker) Steenstrup (1857:[18]); Steenstrup (1882:[160]); Steenstrup (1898:413, 450/[260, 298], pls. 3–4); Tryon (1879b:186, pl. 86 fig. 388); Kristensen & Knudsen (1983:222); Glaubrecht & Salcedo-Vargas (2000:273) Packard (1873:87); Verrill (1875b:84); Posselt (1890:144); Toll & Hess (1981b:753) Obtained by Capt. V. Hygom. Japetus Steenstrup donated single sucker to Museum für Naturkunde in Berlin, which was incorporated into collection in 1883 according to catalogue entry.
15 December 1855 Aalbaekbugten, Denmark
Found washed ashore Architeuthis sp. Entire? Undetermined None Muus (1959:170) Posselt (1890:144)
Unknown (reported 1860) Unknown
Not stated Architeuthis dux [fide Harting (1860)]; ?Ommastrephes hartingii [fide Tryon (1879b:184)]; Architeuthis hartingii (Verrill, 1875) [fide Verrill (1880a)]; nomen nudum [fide Dell (1970:27)] Jaws, buccal mass, detached arm suckers Jaws, buccal mass, detached arm suckers ASD: 1.05 in (2.7 cm) Utrecht University Natural History Museum; holotype of Loligo hartingii Verrill, 1875. Harting specimen No. 1 Harting (1860:2, pl. 1); Kent (1874d:491); Verrill (1875b:85, fig. 28); Tryon (1879b:149, 184, pl. 60 figs. 194–195); Verrill (1880a:240, pl. 16 fig. 8, pl. 25 fig. 1); Verrill (1882c:52, pl. 12 figs. 1–1c); Pfeffer (1912:37) Dell (1970:27)
17 1860 between Hillswick and Scalloway, Shetland, Scotland
Found washed ashore Architeuthis monachus Steenstrup, 1857; Architeuthis dux Steenstrup, 1857 [fide Stephen (1962:154)] Undetermined TL: 16 ft (4.9 m); AL: ~8 ft (2.4 m); BL: ~7 ft (2.1 m) Jeffreys (1869:124); Stephen (1944:263) More (1875b:4571); Pfeffer (1912:26); Rees (1950:40); Collins (1998:489)
30 November ?1861 [=1860 Rees & Maul] about 20 miles (32 km) northeast of Teneriffe, Canary Islands
Found floating at surface Loligo bouyeri [fide Crosse & Fischer]; ?Ommastrephes bouyeri [fide Tryon (1879b:184)] Entire, decomposed None BL: 15–18 ft (4.6–5.5 m) None Bouyer (1861:1263); Crosse & Fischer (1862:135); Bouyer (1866:275, fig.); Kent (1874a:180); Verrill (1875b:86); Tryon (1879b:149, 184, pl. 59); Heuvelmans (2003:185, figs. 95–96, 100) Frédol (1865:314, pl. 13); Figuier (1866:464, fig. 362); Frédol (1866:362); Mangin (1868:321); Meunier (1871:245); Kent (1874d:491); Gervais (1875:93); Lee (1883:38, fig. 8); Rees & Maul (1956:266); Muntz (1995:19, fig. 11); Lagrange (2009:19) Observed only by officers of the French gunboat Alecton; sketch made. A report of the incident filed by the ship's lieutenant was almost certainly seen by Jules Verne and adapted by him for the description of the monstrous squid in Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea (Ellis, 1998a:79). Iconography discussed by Lagrange (2009).
19 1862 North Atlantic
Unknown Crosse & Fischer (1862) Ellis (1998a:258)
Unknown; 1870? Cape Sable, Nova Scotia, Canada
Found washed ashore Architeuthis megaptera Verrill, 1878 [=Sthenoteuthis pteropus (Steenstrup, 1855) fide Dunning (1998:428)] Entire Entire BL: 14 in (36 cm); BL+HL: 19 in (48 cm); EL: 43 in (110 cm); TL: 22–24 in (56–61 cm); AL: 6.5–8.5 in (17–22 cm); FW: 13.5 in (34 cm); FL: 6 in (15 cm); extensive additional measurements NSMC; catalog no. 1870-Z-2. YPM; catalog nos. IZ 017932 (sucker), IZ 017713; holotype of Architeuthis megaptera Verrill, 1878 [fide MacAlaster (1977:14)]; Verrill specimen No. 21 ("Cape Sable specimen") Verrill (1878:207); Tryon (1879b:187); Verrill (1880a:193); Verrill (1882c:17, pl. 16 figs. 1–9) Non-architeuthid. Collected by J.M. Jones.
20 September 1870 Waimarama, east coast of Wellington, New Zealand
Found washed ashore Entire Beak BL+HL: 10 ft 5 in (3.18 m); BC: 6 ft (1.8 m); AL: 5 ft 6 in (1.68 m) In Kirk's possession; Kirk specimen No. 1 Kirk (1880:310); Verrill (1881b:398) Meinertzhagen letter 27 June 1879 to Kirk; Pfeffer (1912:32); Dell (1952:98) Mr. Meinertzhagen sent beak, saved by third party (unidentified), to Kirk. Natives called specimen a "taniwha".
21 1870 (winter) Lamaline, Newfoundland
Found washed ashore Architeuthis monachus of Steenstrup Two specimens; entire? Two; EL: 40 ft (12 m) and EL: 47 ft (14 m) Unknown; Verrill specimen Nos. 8 & 9 ("Lamaline specimens") Murray (1874a:162); Verrill (1875a:36); Verrill (1880a:187); Verrill (1882c:11) Harvey (1874a:69); Kent (1874a:182); Frost (1934:101) Data from Mr. Harvey letter citing Rev. M. Gabriel's statement to Harvey.
October 1871 Grand Banks, Newfoundland
Found floating at surface Architeuthis princeps Verrill, 1875 Entire; part used as bait Jaws obtained from Baird for examination by Verrill BL: ~15 ft (4.6 m); BD: 19 in (48 cm); AL: ~10 ft (3.0 m) [mutilated]; AD: 7 in (18 cm); AC: 22 in (56 cm); beak; BC: 4 ft 8 in (1.42 m); WT: 2,000 lb (910 kg) Jaws at NMNH [fide Verrill (1874a:158); no longer extant?]; lower jaw is syntype of Architeuthis princeps Verrill, 1875b; Verrill specimen No. 1 ("Grand Banks specimen" [1st]) Packard (1873:91); Verrill (1874a:158); Verrill (1874b:167); Verrill (1875b:79, fig. 27); Verrill (1880a:181, 210, pl. 18 fig. 3); Verrill (1882c:5, pl. 11 figs. 3–3a) Pfeffer (1912:20); Frost (1934:100) Taken by Capt. Campbell, Schooner B.D. Haskins.
23 1871 Wellington, New Zealand
?EL: 16 ft (4.9 m) Dell (1952) Ellis (1998a:258)
24 1872 (autumn or winter) Coomb's Cove, Newfoundland
Found alive in shallow water, having been driven ashore in heavy sea Entire; "one long arm missing" (later changed to both present) BL: 10 ft (3.0 m); BD: 3–4 ft (0.91–1.22 m); TL: 42 ft (13 m); AL: ~6 ft (1.8 m); AD: 9 in (23 cm); skin + flesh: 2.25 in (5.7 cm) thick; EL: 52 ft (16 m) Unknown; Verrill specimen No. 3 ("Coombs' Cove specimen") Verrill (1874a:159); Verrill (1874b:167); Verrill (1875a:35); Verrill (1880a:183); Verrill (1882c:7) Owen (1881:163); Frost (1934:101) Specimen had a reddish colour. Verrill's data taken from newspaper accounts and 15/VI/1873 T.R. Bennett letter to Prof. Baird. Verrill (1880a:186) states his No. 6 is same specimen as No. 3; this cannot be correct, since capture date for No. 6 is clearly stated as December 1874 by Verrill (1875c:213) (fide Sweeney & Roper, 2001:[9]).
December 1872 Bonavista Bay, Newfoundland
Found washed ashore ?Architeuthis dux [fide Verrill (1874a)]; ?Architeuthis harveyi [fide Verrill (1880a)] Entire (damaged arms) Pair of jaws and two suckers TL: 32 ft (9.8 m); AL: ~10 ft (3.0 m); BL: ~14 ft (4.3 m) [estimate]; BC: 6 ft (1.8 m) NMNH. YPM; catalog no. IZ 034835. Verrill specimen No. 4 ("Bonavista Bay specimen") (1875a:33); and possibly also Verrill specimen No. 11 ("Second Bonavista Bay specimen") (1875b:79) Verrill (1874a:160); Verrill (1874b:167); Verrill (1875a:33, fig. 11); Verrill (1875b:79); Verrill (1880a:184, 187, pl. 16 figs. 5–6, pl. 25 fig. 5); Verrill (1882c:8, 11, pl. 3 figs. 4–4a, pl. 4 figs. 1–1a) Pfeffer (1912:19); Frost (1934:101) Material from Rev. A. Munn, through Prof. Baird to Verrill.
Unknown (reported 1873) North Atlantic Ocean
From sperm whale stomach Architeuthis princeps Verrill, 1875; Ommastrephes (Architeuthis) princeps [fide Tryon (1879b:185)] Upper and lower jaws Upper and lower jaws Beak measurements Presented by Capt. N.E. Atwood of Provincetown, Massachusetts to EI [fide Verrill (1875b)]; PASS [fide Verrill (1880a)]; syntype of Architeuthis princeps Verrill, 1875b; Verrill specimen No. 10 ("Sperm-whale specimen") Packard (1873:91, fig. 10); Verrill (1875a:22); Verrill (1875b:79, figs. 25–26); Tryon (1879b:185, pl. 85); Verrill (1880a:187, 210, pl. 18 figs. 1–2); Verrill (1882c:11, pl. 11 figs. 1–2) Frost (1934:101) Verrill states Packard's illustration is inaccurate.
27 1873 Yedo fishmarket, Japan
Purchased Megateuthis martensii Hilgendorf, 1880; Nomen spurium [fide Pfeffer (1912:31)] 'Entire', missing head, "abdominal sac", ends of tentacles and arms [fide Owen (1881:163)] Not specified ML: 186 cm; WL: 414 cm; HL: 41 cm; AL: 197 cm [longest]; ASD: 1.5 cm (with 37 cusps); EyD: 200 mm ZMB Moll. 34716 + 38980; holotype of Megateuthis martensii Hilgendorf, 1880 [34716a: eyeball, 200 mm diameter, dry; 34716b: pieces of arm and gladius, suckers; 34716c: larger piece of arm with suckers; 38980: four suckers from holotype arm piece] Hilgendorf (1880:67); Pfeffer (1912:31); Sasaki (1929:227); Glaubrecht & Salcedo-Vargas (2000:276) Owen (1881:163); Sasaki (1916:90) Second specimen from Tokyo fishmarket seen by Franz Martin Hilgendorf and used for description of gladius. Of other specimen, Hilgendorf saved assorted parts: "Theile eines Armes, die Hüllen des Auges, und ein Bruchstück des Schulpes" (Glaubrecht & Salcedo-Vargas, 2000:276). Model of specimen placed in Exhibition of Fishery in Berlin.
26 October 1873 off Portugal Cove, Conception Bay, Newfoundland
Found floating at surface, alive Megaloteuthis harveyi Kent, 1874; Architeuthis monachus of Steenstrup [fide Verrill (1875a:34)]; ?Architeuthis harveyi [fide Verrill (1880a:181)] Entire One tentacle; one arm discarded (see Verrill, 1880a:220) TL: 19 ft (5.8 m) [incomplete]; TSD: 1.25 in (3.2 cm); TC: 3.5 in (8.9 cm); additional measurements based on photograph (Verrill, 1875a:34); additional club measurement from Harvey letter (Verrill, 1875b:79); BL: ~10 ft (3.0 m); EL: ~60 ft (18 m) [estimate] YPM?; holotype of Megaloteuthis harveyi Kent, 1874; Verrill specimen No. 2 ("Conception Bay specimen") Harvey (1873a); Harvey (1873b); Harvey (1873c); Harvey (1874a:67, fig.); Murray (1874a:161); Murray (1874b:120); Verrill (1874a:159); Verrill (1874b:167); Kent (1874a:178, 182); Kent (1874d:32); Verrill (1875a:34); Verrill (1875b:78); Verrill (1880a:181); Verrill (1881b:pl. 26 fig. 5); Verrill (1882b:74); Verrill (1882c:5, pl. 4 figs. 3–3a); Haslam (2017) "13 December Field"; [Anonymous] (1873:2); Harvey (1873d:2); [Anonymous] (1874:333); Rathbun (1881:266); Owen (1881:161, pl. 33 fig. 2); Lee (1883:42, fig. 9); [Anonymous] (1902b:6, fig.); Pfeffer (1912:19); Frost (1934:100); Aldrich (1991:457); Dery (2013) Found floating at surface; struck by Theophilus Picot from boat; attacked boat. Considered by Paxton (2016a:83) as the "longest visually estimated" total length of any giant squid specimen. Dery (2013) wrote: "contemporary teuthologists dismiss the "attack" as the death throes of a moribund animal, pointing out that virtually all giant squid encountered on the ocean’s surface are dead or dying. "There is not a single corroborated story of a [giant] squid attacking a man, a boat, or a submersible", asserts Ellis."
25 November? 1873 Logy Bay (~3 miles from St. John's), Newfoundland
In herring net ?Architeuthis monachus of Steenstrup [fide Verrill (1874a)]; Ommastrephes (Architeuthis) monachus [fide Tryon (1879b:184)]; Architeuthis harveyi (Kent, 1874) [fide Verrill (1880a)] Entire (badly mutilated, head severed, etc.) Miscellaneous parts obtained from Rev. M. Harvey (gladius and ?) (see Verrill, 1880a:220) BL: ~7 ft (2.1 m); BC: 5–6 ft (1.5–1.8 m); caudal fin: 22 in (56 cm) broad; TL: 24 ft (7.3 m); TC: 2.5 in (6.4 cm); AL: 6 ft (1.8 m) [all 8]; AC: 10 in (25 cm), 9 in (23 cm), 8 in (20 cm), 7 in (18 cm) [all basal measurements]; ASC: ~100; CSC: ~160; club description; extensive description of reconstructed parts YPM; catalog nos. IZ 009634 (beak and limbs), IZ 017924 (radula), IZ 017925, IZ 017926, IZ 034968. Verrill specimen No. 5 ("Logie Bay specimen") Harvey (1873d:2); Verrill (1874a:160); Verrill (1874b:167); Kent (1874a:181); Kent (1874d:32); Verrill (1875a:22, figs. 1–6, 10); Verrill (1876:236); Tryon (1879b:184, pls. 83–84); Verrill (1880a:184, 197, pls. 13–15, pl. 16 figs. 1–4, pl. 16a); Verrill (1880b:295, pl. 13); Verrill (1882c:8, pls. 1–2, pl. 3 figs. 1–3, pl. 4 figs. 4–11, pl. 5 figs. 1–5); Pfeffer (1912:18); Aldrich (1991:457, fig. 1A,B); Haslam (2017) Harvey in Morning Chronicle (newspaper) of St. John's; Maritime Monthly Magazine of St. John's, March 1874; several other newspapers; [Anonymous] (1874:332); Lee (1883:43, fig. 10); [Anonymous] (1902b:6, fig.); Frost (1934:101) Verrill's data from letter to Dr. Dawson from M. Harvey. Photographs made of a) entire body, somewhat mutilated anteriorly; b) head and 10 limbs. Poorly preserved; first in brine, then in alcohol. Capture date given as December several times, then as November several times and as 25 November by Aldrich (1991:457). Verrill's description served as the basis for a number of life-sized models, including the one that now hangs at the Peabody Museum of Natural History (YPM IZ 104471), built in 1966 (Ellis, 1997b:35), though it was also based on several Newfoundland specimens from the 1960s ([Anonymous], 2004). Matthew Gavin Frank wrote a work of creative nonfiction on this specimen and the famous photograph of it draped over Harvey's shower curtain rod (Frank, 2014).
Unknown (reported 1874) Unknown; South-American coast [fide Kent (1874a:179)]
Not stated Architeuthis monachus [fide Kent (1874a:178)]; Plectoteuthis grandis Owen, 1881; Architeuthis sp.? (grandis) [fide Verrill (1881b:401)]; nomen nudum [fide Dell (1970:27)] Sessile arm Arm AL: 9 ft (2.7 m); AC: 11 in (28 cm) BMNH; holotype of Plectoteuthis grandis Owen, 1881 Kent (1874a:179); Kent (1874d:493); Verrill (1875b:86); Owen (1881:156, pls. 34–35); Verrill (1881b:400); Verrill (1882b:72); Steenstrup (1882:[160]); Pfeffer (1912:37) Dell (1970:27)
31 1874 Buøy, Foldenfjord, Norway
Found washed ashore Architeuthis dux Entire None WL: ~4 m Grieg (1933:19) Nordgård (1928:71)
32 10 May 1874 off Trincomalee, Sri Lanka (8°50′N 84°05′E / 8.833°N 84.083°E / 8.833; 84.083 (Giant squid specimen))
Reportedly seen sinking ship Unknown The Times, 4 July 1874; Mystic Press, 31 July 1874; Lane (1957:205); Ellis (1998a:198); Boyle (1999); Uragoda (2005:97) Ellis (1998a:258) Schooner Pearl (150 tons) with crew of six, including captain James Floyd, supposedly sunk by giant squid. Incident reportedly seen from passenger steamer Strathowen, bound from Colombo to Madras, which rescued five of the crew. Veracity of account has been questioned (Ellis, 1998a:201).
2 November 1874 on beach, St. Paul Island, Indian Ocean (38°43′S 77°32′E / 38.717°S 77.533°E / -38.717; 77.533 (Giant squid specimen))
Found washed ashore Architeuthis mouchezi Vélain (1875:1002) [nomen nudum]; Mouchezis sancti-pauli Vélain (1877:81); Ommastrephes mouchezi [fide Tryon (1879b:184)] Entire; found in advanced state of decay Tentacle(s?) and buccal mass EL: 7.15 m MNHN; catalog nos. 3-2-658 + 3-2-659 (tentacular clubs) [fide Lu et al. (1995)]; holotype of Mouchezis sancti-pauli Vélain, 1877 Vélain (1875:1002); Vélain (1877:81 & 83, fig. 8); Vélain (1878:81 & 83, fig. 8); Tryon (1879b:184, pl. 82 fig. 378); Owen (1881:159); Pfeffer (1912:32) Gervais (1875:88); Verrill (1875c:213); Wright (1878:329) Recorded by geologist Charles Vélain during French astronomical mission to Île Saint-Paul to observe the transit of Venus. Specimen was photographed (Wright, 1878:329).
December 1874 Grand Bank, Fortune Bay, Newfoundland
Found washed ashore Architeuthis princeps Entire, except for tail (cut up for dog food) Jaws, one tentacular sucker EL: 42–43 ft (12.8–13.1 m); HL+BL: 12–13 ft (3.7–4.0 m); ?TL: 30 ft (9.1 m); TL: 26 ft (7.9 m); TC: 16 in (41 cm); BL: 10 ft (3.0 m); jaws YPM; catalog nos. IZ 010272 (beak), IZ 034836. Verrill specimen No. 6 and Verrill specimen No. 13 ("Fortune Bay specimen") Verrill (1875a:35); Verrill (1875c:213); Verrill (1880a:186, 188, pl. 17 fig. 11); Verrill (1882c:10, 12, pl. 7 fig. 1, pl. 9 fig. 11) Simms letter 27/X/1875 to Verrill; Frost (1934:102) Data from 10/XII/1873 letter from Mr. Harvey to unknown individual citing measurements taken by G. Simms; Pfeffer (1912:21). Measurements are given differently in different papers. Verrill (1880a:186) and Verrill (1882c:10) states his No. 6 is same specimen as No. 3; this cannot be correct, as capture date for No. 6 is clearly stated as December 1874 by Verrill (1875c:213) (fide Sweeney & Roper, 2001:[12]). Verrill (1880a:188, pl. 17) repeats record as his No. 13.
35 winter of 1874–1875 near Harbor Grace, Newfoundland
Found washed ashore Destroyed None taken None; Verrill specimen No. 12 ("Harbor Grace specimen") Verrill (1875b:79); Verrill (1880a:188); Verrill (1882c:12) Frost (1934:102) "destroyed before its value became known, and no measurements are given"
36 Unknown (reported 1875) west St. Modent (on Labrador side), Strait of Belle Isle, Newfoundland
Found alive Architeuthis princeps or Architeuthis monachus of Steenstrup Entire None; cut up, salted, and barrelled for dog meat ?TL: 37 ft (11 m); BL+HL: 15 ft (4.6 m); EL: 52 ft (16 m); SD: ~2 in (5.1 cm) None; Verrill specimen No. 7 ("Labrador specimen") Verrill (1875a:36); Verrill (1880a:186); Verrill (1882c:10) Dr. Honeyman article in Halifax newspaper; Frost (1934:101) Data from unidentified third party cited in Halifax newspaper article.
25 April 1875 [26 April fide O'Connor (1875)] north-west of Boffin Island, Connemara, Ireland
Found immobile at surface; attacked and chased by fishermen; arms successively hacked off and eventually killed Architeuthis dux Steenstrup, 1857 Entire Beak and buccal mass, one arm ("much mutilated and decayed", missing horny rings), portions of both tentacles ("shrunk and distorted", missing horny rings on large central club suckers); head, eyes and second arm initially saved, but soon lost/destroyed TL: 30 ft (9.1 m) [fresh]; TL: 14/17 ft (4.3/5.2 m) [pickled]; CL: 2 ft 9 in (0.84 m) [shrunken]; CSD: nearly 1 in (2.5 cm); SSD: 320 in (0.38 cm); AL: 8 ft (2.4 m) [fresh]; AC: 15 in (38 cm) [fresh]; beak: ~5 14 in (13 cm) × 3 12 in (8.9 cm); "trunk": "fully as long as the canoe"; EyD: ~15 in (38 cm); WT: ~6 st (38 kg) [head only]; additional sucker measurements NMI O'Connor (1875:4502); More (1875b:4569); More (1875c:123); Verrill (1875c:214); Massy (1909:30) Galway Express 1875; Ritchie (1918:137); Massy (1928:32); Robson (1933:692); Rees (1950:40); Hardy (1956:285); Collins (1998:489) On public display. Caught by three-man longline fishing crew of currach ("curragh") for use as bait for coarse fish. Found motionless at surface surrounded by gulls, becoming active upon being attacked by fishermen, swimming away "at a tremendous rate" and releasing ink. Progressively disabled with a knife (fishermen having no gaff or spare rope) as chased for 2 hours over 5 mi (8.0 km), before head eventually severed; heavy mantle allowed to sink. Specimen secured and preserved by Sergeant Thomas O'Connor of the Royal Irish Constabulary and forwarded by him to the museum of the Royal Dublin Society, Dublin (now the National Museum of Ireland – Natural History).
38 October 1875 Grand Banks [of Newfoundland], Atlantic Ocean (chiefly 44°–44°30'N 49°30'–49°50'W)
Found floating at surface; "mostly entirely dead" but small minority "not quite dead, but entirely disabled" Architeuthis Multiple; mutilated by birds and fishes to varying degrees, especially limbs; No. 25 missing parts of arms; No. 26 with intact arms and tentacles None; cut up for cod bait No. 25: Filled ~75 US gal (280 l) tub; WT: nearly 1,000 lb (450 kg) [estimate, complete]; No. 26: TL: 36 ft (11 m); Howard specimens: BL+HL?: mostly 10–15 ft (3.0–4.6 m) [excluding "arms"]; BD: ~18 in (46 cm) [average]; AL: usually 3–4 ft (0.91–1.22 m) [incomplete]; AD: "about as large as a man's thigh" [at base]; Tragabigzanda specimens: BL+HL?: 8–12 ft (2.4–3.7 m) [excluding "arms"] None; included Verrill specimen No. 25 and Verrill specimen No. 26 Verrill (1881a:251); Verrill (1881b:396); Verrill (1882c:19) Frost (1934:103) An unusual number (~25–30) of mostly dead giant squid found by Gloucester, Massachusetts fishermen, with similar number estimated to have been obtained by vessels from other areas. Data from Capt. J.W. Collins of the United States Fish Commission, who at the time of the incident commanded schooner Howard, which collected five specimens. Other involved vessels included schooner Sarah P. Ayer (Capt. Oakley), which took 1–2 specimens; E. R. Nickerson (Capt. McDonald), which harpooned one (No. 26) with intact arms that was "not entirely dead"; and schooner Tragabigzanda (Capt. Mallory), which took three in one afternoon. Some fishermen stated that such "big squids" were also common at the Flemish Cap during the same season. Verrill conjectured that this mass mortality might have been due to an outbreak of disease or parasites, and/or related to their reproductive cycle.
39 ~1876 Clifford Bay, Cape Campbell, New Zealand
Found washed ashore Entire Jaws [fide Pfeffer (1912:32)] BL: 7 ft (2.1 m) [estimate]; EL: ~20 ft (6.1 m) [estimate] Colonial Museum [NMNZ] [fide Pfeffer (1912:32)] Robson (1887:156); Kirk (1880) Pfeffer (1912:32); Dell (1952:98)
40 20 November 1876 Hammer Cove, southwest arm of Green Bay, Notre Dame Bay, Newfoundland
Found washed ashore Partial specimen; devoured by foxes and seabirds Piece of pen 16 in (41 cm) long WH: 18 in (46 cm); FW: 18 in (46 cm) In Harvey's possession; Verrill specimen No. 15 ("Hammer Cove specimen") Verrill (1880a:190); Verrill (1880b:284); Verrill (1882c:14) M. Harvey letter 25 August 1877 to Verrill; Frost (1934:102)
41 1877? Norway
Not stated Map location only Sivertsen (1955:11, fig. 4)
24 September 1877 Catalina, Trinity Bay, Newfoundland
Found washed ashore, alive Architeuthis princeps; Ommastrephes (Architeuthis) princeps [fide Tryon (1879b:185)] Entire; "nearly perfect specimen" Loose suckers (see Verrill, 1880a:220) HL+BL: 9.5 ft (2.9 m); BC: 7 ft (2.1 m); TL: 30 ft (9.1 m); AL: 11 ft (3.4 m) [longest, ventral]; AC: 17 in (43 cm) [ventral]; beak; FW: 2 ft 9 in (0.84 m) YPM; catalog nos. IZ 017927, IZ 017928, IZ 017929, IZ 017930. Verrill specimen No. 14 ("Catalina specimen") Harvey (1877); [Anonymous] (1877a:266, 269, fig.); [Anonymous] (1877b:867, fig.); [Anonymous] (1877c:305, fig.); Verrill (1877:425); Tryon (1879b:185); Verrill (1880a:189, pl. 17 figs. 1–10, pls. 19–20); Verrill (1880b:295, pl. 12); Verrill (1882c:13, pl. 8, pl. 9 figs. 1–10, pl. 10) Owen (1881:163); Pfeffer (1912:21); Frost (1934:102) Measured fresh by M. Harvey; examined preserved (poorly) by Verrill at New York Aquarium. Later "prepared" for exhibition by taxidermist. Cast made for the AMNH.
43 October 1877 Trinity Bay, Newfoundland
Not stated "big squid" None None taken None; Verrill specimen No. 17 ("Trinity Bay specimen") Verrill (1880a:191); Verrill (1880b:285); Verrill (1882c:15) M. Harvey letter 17 November 1877 to Verrill citing reference to specimen by John Duffet; Frost (1934:102) Specimen cut up and used for manure.
21 November 1877 Smith's Sound, Lance Cove, Trinity Bay, Newfoundland
Found washed ashore, alive ?Architeuthis princeps Entire None; carried off by tide BL(+HL?): 11 ft (3.4 m); TL: 33 ft (10 m); AL: 13 ft (4.0 m) [estimate] None; Verrill specimen No. 16 ("Lance Cove specimen") Verrill (1880a:190); Verrill (1880b:285); Verrill (1882c:14) M. Harvey letter 27 November 1877 to Verrill citing measurements taken by John Duffet; Frost (1934:102) Found still alive, having "ploughed up a trench or furrow about 30 feet [9.1 m] long and of considerable depth by the stream of water that it ejected with great force from its siphon. When the tide receded it died."
2 November 1878 near Little Bay Copper Mine, Thimble Tickle, Notre Dame Bay, Newfoundland
Found aground offshore, alive; secured to tree with grapnel and rope; died as tide receded ?Architeuthis princeps Entire None; cut up for dog food BL+HL: 20 ft (6.1 m); TL: 35 ft (11 m) None; Verrill specimen No. 18 ("Thimble Tickle specimen") Verrill (1880a:191); Verrill (1880b:285); Verrill (1882c:15) M. Harvey letter 30 January 1879 to Boston Traveller; Holder (1885:165, pl. 25); Frost (1934:102); Hickey (2009); Paxton (2016a:83) Discovered by Stephen Sherring, fisherman. Often cited as the largest recorded giant squid specimen, and long treated as such by Guinness (see Wood, 1982:189; Carwardine, 1995:240; Glenday, 2014:62). The length of the "body [..] from the beak to the extremity of the tail" (i.e. mantle plus head) was said to be 20 ft (6.1 m), with "one of the arms" (presumably a tentacle) measuring 35 ft (10.7 m), for a total length of 55 ft (16.8 m) (Verrill, 1880a:191; Verrill, 1880b:285). Considered by Paxton (2016a:83) as candidate for "longest measured" total length of any giant squid specimen (together with #62, and less reliably #208). Total length sometimes mistakenly cited as 57 ft (17.4 m) per Paxton (2016a:83). Giant Squid Interpretation Centre and "life-sized", 55-foot sculpture built near site of capture (Hickey, 2009); sculpture appeared on Canadian postage stamp issued in 2011 (Hickey, 2010; [Anonymous], N.d.).
46 2 December 1878 Three Arms, South Arm of Notre Dame Bay, Newfoundland
Found washed ashore ?Architeuthis princeps Entire, mutilated and with arms missing (only one arm "perfect") None; cut up for dog food BL+HL: 15 ft (4.6 m); BC: 12 ft (3.7 m); AL: 16 ft (4.9 m); AD: "thicker than a man's thigh" None; Verrill specimen No. 19 ("Three Arms specimen") Verrill (1880a:192); Verrill (1880b:286); Verrill (1882c:16) M. Harvey letter 30 January 1879 to Boston Traveller; Frost (1934:102); Paxton (2016a:83) Found dead by fisherman William Budgell after heavy gale. Considered by Paxton (2016a:83) as the "longest measured" standard length of any giant squid specimen.
23 May 1879 Lyall Bay, Cook Strait, New Zealand
Found washed ashore Steenstrupia stockii Kirk, 1882 [=Architeuthis sp.? fide Verrill (1882d:477)] Entire, but somewhat mutilated Pen, beak, tongue, some suckers ML: 9 ft 2 in (2.79 m); BC: 7 ft 3 in (2.21 m); HL: 1 ft 11 in (0.58 m); BL+HL: 11 ft 1 in (3.38 m); HC: 4 ft (1.2 m); AL: 4 ft 3 in (1.30 m); AC: 11 in (28 cm); ASC: 36; FL: 24 in (61 cm); FW: 13 in (33 cm) (single); GL: 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m); GW: 11 in (28 cm); other measurements NMNZ; catalog no. M.125405 + M.125403 [fide Marshall (1996:45)]; holotype of Steenstrupia stockii Kirk, 1882. Kirk specimen No. 3 Kirk (1880:310); Verrill (1881b:398); Kirk (1882:286, pl. 36 figs. 2–4) Verrill (1882d:477); Kirk (1888:34); Pfeffer (1912:34); Suter (1913:1051); Dell (1952:98); Dell (1970:27); Stevens (1988:149, fig. 2); Judd (1996); Paxton (2016a:83) Measurements taken by T.W. Kirk. Considered by Paxton (2016a:83) as the longest reliably measured mantle length of any giant squid specimen (less reliably that of #105).
48 1879 off Nova Scotia, Canada (42°49′N 62°57′W / 42.817°N 62.950°W / 42.817; -62.950 (Giant squid specimen))
From fish stomach, Alepidosaurus [sic] ferox ?Architeuthis megaptera Verrill, 1878; ?Architeuthis harveyi (Kent, 1874) Terminal part of tentacular arm Portion of arm 18 in (46 cm) long NMNH; catalog no. 576962. Verrill specimen No. 20 ("Banquereau specimen" [after Banquereau Bank, a bank off Nova Scotia]) Verrill (1880a:193); Verrill (1880b:287); Verrill (1882c:16) Frost (1934:103) Lancetfish taken by Capt. J.W. Collins of schooner Marion on halibut trawl-line.
49 September 1879 Olafsfjord, Iceland
Architeuthis Left tentacle TL: 7680+ mm; CL: 1010 mm; CSC: 268; TSC: 290; additional indices and counts ZMUC [specimen NA-7 of Roeleveld (2002)] Roeleveld (2002:727) Tentacle morphology examined by Roeleveld (2002).
50 October 1879 near Brigus, Conception Bay, Newfoundland
Found washed ashore Two arms with other mutilated parts Undetermined AL: 8 ft (2.4 m) None?; Verrill specimen No. 22 ("Brigus specimen") Verrill (1880a:194); Verrill (1880b:287); Verrill (1882c:17) Frost (1934:103) Found after storm. Information provided by Moses Harvey.
51 1 November 1879 James's Cove, Bonavista Bay, Newfoundland
Found at surface, alive Entire None; cut up by fishermen EL: 38 ft (12 m); BL: 9 ft (2.7 m); BC: ~6 ft (1.8 m); TL: 29 ft (8.8 m) None; Verrill specimen No. 23 ("James's Cove specimen") Verrill (1880a:194); Verrill (1880b:287); Verrill (1882c:17) Morning Chronicle of St. John's 9 December 1879; Frost (1934:103) Found alive and driven ashore.
52 Unknown (reported 1880) near Boulder Bank, Nelson, New Zealand
Not stated; hook and line? Not indicated Undetermined 8 ft (2.4 m) long None?; Kirk specimen No. 4 Kirk (1880:310); Verrill (1881b:398) Newspaper article Caught by fishing party. No other data.
53 Unknown (reported 1880) near Flat Point, east coast, New Zealand
Not stated Not indicated Undetermined None None?; Kirk specimen No. 5 Kirk (1880:310); Verrill (1881b:398) Description sent to Mr. Beetham, M.H.R., by Mr. Moore Found by Mr. Moore. No other data.
April 1880 Grand Banks, Newfoundland
Found dead at surface Architeuthis harveyi (Kent, 1874) Head, tentacles, and arms only Head, tentacles, and arms TL: 66 in (170 cm); ASC: 330; extensive measurements and counts YPM; catalog no. 12600y. Verrill specimen No. 24 ("Grand Banks specimen" [2nd]) Verrill (1881b:259, pl. 26 figs. 1–4, pl. 38 figs. 3–7); Verrill (1882c:18, pl. 4 figs. 2–2a, pl. 5 figs. 6–8, pl. 6) Pfeffer (1912:19); Frost (1934:103) Found dead by Capt. O.A. Whitten of schooner Wm.H. Oakes. Arm and sucker regeneration documented by Verrill (1881b:260); one of two published records of limb regeneration in architeuthids (as identified by Imperadore & Fiorito, 2018), the other being a case of tentacle regeneration in #170.
6 June 1880 Island Bay, Cook Strait, New Zealand
Found washed ashore Architeuthis verrilli Kirk, 1882 Entire Not specified ML: 7 ft 6 in (2.29 m); BC: 9 ft 2 in (2.79 m); TL: 25 ft (7.6 m); AL(I,II,IV): 9 ft (2.7 m); AC(I,II,IV): 15 in (38 cm); AL(III): 10 ft 5 in (3.18 m); AC(III): 21 in (53 cm); ASC(III): 71; HC: 4 ft 3 in (1.30 m); HL: 19 in (48 cm); FL: 30 in (76 cm); FW: 28 in (71 cm); EyD: 5 in (13 cm) by 4 in (10 cm) NMNZ; holotype of Architeuthis verrilli Kirk, 1882; specimen no longer extant [fide Marshall (1996:46)] Kirk (1882:284, pl. 36 fig. 1) Verrill (1882d:477); Kirk (1888:35); Pfeffer (1912:33); Suter (1913:1052); Dell (1952:98); Dell (1970:27) Measurements taken by Kirk, except TL by James McColl. Beak and portions of gladius ("skeleton") taken by Italian fishermen and not recovered.
56 ~1880 Kvænangen, Norway
Found washed ashore Architeuthis dux Steenstrup, 1857 Entire None None Grieg (1933:19) Sivertsen (1955:11)
57 ~1880 Tønsvik, Tromsøysund, Norway
Found washed ashore Architeuthis dux Steenstrup, 1857 Entire None None Grieg (1933:19)
58 October 1880 Kilkee, County Clare, Ireland
Found washed ashore "octopus"; Architeuthis sp. O'Brien (1880:585); Ritchie (1918:137) Rees (1950:40); Collins (1998:489) Originally cited as an octopus.
59 first week of November 1881 on beach, Hennesey's Cove, Long Island, Placentia Bay, Newfoundland
Found washed ashore Architeuthis princeps? Entire; "much mutilated by crows and other birds" Not stated "very large"; BL+HL: 26 ft (7.9 m) [estimate] Verrill specimen No. 28 Verrill (1882c:221) M. Harvey letter 19 December 1881 to Verrill Found by Albert Butcher and George Wareham, "who cut a portion from the head", at uninhabited locality; Verrill considered their estimate of the specimen's length "probably too large". Moses Harvey learned of the specimen from C. D. Chambers, magistrate of Harbour Buffet, Placentia Bay. Only mentioned in Verrill (1882c:221); overlooked by Ellis (1994a:379–384), Ellis (1998a:257–265), and Sweeney & Roper (2001).
10 November 1881 Portugal Cove, near St. John's, Newfoundland
Found floating dead near shore Architeuthis harveyi (Kent, 1874) Entire Entire (somewhat mutilated and poorly preserved) a) BL: 5.5 ft (1.7 m); HL: 1.25 ft (0.38 m); EL: 28 ft (8.5 m); BC: 4.5 ft (1.4 m) b) ML: 4.16 ft (1.27 m); BC: 4 ft (1.2 m); FL: 1.75 ft (0.53 m); FW: 8 in (20 cm) [single]; TL: 15 ft (4.6 m); CL: 2 ft (0.61 m); AL: 4.66 ft (1.42 m) [ventral, minus tip]; TC: 8.5 in (22 cm) [at base]; additional measurements E.M. Worth Museum (101 Bowery, NY, NY). Verrill specimen No. 27 [Anonymous] (1881:821, fig.); Verrill (1881b:422); Verrill (1882a:71); Verrill (1882c:201, 219) Morris article in 25 November 1881 New York Herald; Pfeffer (1912:19) Obtained by Mr. Morris, photographed by E. Lyons (St. John's), shipped on ice by steamer Catima to New York, purchased and preserved by E.M. Worth. Measurements by a) Inspector Murphy (chief Board of Public Works) when iced; b) Verrill of fixed specimen. An 1881 specimen from Portugal Cove with a "body" reportedly 11 ft (3.4 m) long, mentioned in the Evening Telegram of St. John's (21 December 1933) and cited by Frost (1934:103), presumably refers to the same animal.
61 30 June 1886 Cape Campbell, New Zealand
Found washed ashore Architeuthis kirkii Robson, 1887 Entire Beak and club ML: 8 ft 3 in (2.51 m); HL: 1 ft 9 in (0.53 m); AL: 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m); TL: 18 ft 10 in (5.74 m); EL: 28 ft 10 in (8.79 m); BC: ~8 ft (2.4 m) [estimate] NMNZ; catalog no. M.125404 + ?M.125406 [fide Marshall (1996:45)]; holotype of Architeuthis kirkii Robson, 1887. Kirk specimen No. 2 Kirk (1879:310); Verrill (1881b:398); Robson (1887:156) C.H.[W.] Robson letter 19 June 1879 to T.W. Kirk; Pfeffer (1912:35); Suter (1913:1048); Dell (1952:98); Dell (1970:27) Found by Mr. C.H.[W.] Robson; beak given to Mr. A. Hamilton.
"early" October 1887 Lyall Bay, New Zealand
Found washed ashore Architeuthis longimanus Kirk, 1888 Entire Beak and buccal-mass Female EL: 55 ft 2 in (16.81 m); ML: 71 in (180 cm); BC: 63 in (160 cm); extensive additional measurements and description Dominion Museum [NMNZ] (see Dell, 1970:28); holotype of Architeuthis longimanus Kirk, 1888. Specimen not found [fide Marshall (1996:46)] Kirk (1888:35, pls. 7–9); Pfeffer (1912:36) Suter (1913:1049); Dell (1952:98); Dell (1970:27); Wood (1982:191); Ellis (1998a:7, 92); O'Shea & Bolstad (2008); Dery (2013); Paxton (2016a:83) Strangely proportioned animal that has been much commented on; sometimes cited as the longest giant squid specimen ever recorded (Ellis, 1998a:7).[nb 6] Considered by Paxton (2016a:83) as candidate for "longest measured" total length of any giant squid specimen (together with #45, and less reliably #208). Found by Mr. Smith, local fisherman. Measurements taken by T.W. Kirk. Date found listed incorrectly in Dell (1952:98) (fide Sweeney & Roper, 2001:[87]).
63 27 August 1888 between Pico and St. George, Azores Islands (38°33′57″N 30°39′30″W / 38.56583°N 30.65833°W / 38.56583; -30.65833 (Giant squid specimen)) at 1266 m depth
By benthic trawl Architeuthis? sp.? [fide Joubin (1895:34)] Large beak Undetermined None Joubin (1895:34)
64 1889 Norway
Not stated Map location only Sivertsen (1955:11, fig. 4)
65 Unknown (reported 1892) Sao Miguel Island, Azores Islands
Found washed ashore Architeuthis princeps Entire? Jaws and tentacle club Beak measurements Museum in Lisbon [fide Pfeffer (1912:27)] Girard (1892:214, pls. 1–2) Pfeffer (1912:27); Robson (1933:692)
66 1892 Greenland
Not stated Architeuthis monachus Posselt (1898:279)
[2] Unknown (reported November 1894) Talcahuano, Chile
Unknown; collected and donated to ZMB by Ludwig Plate Ommastrephes gigas [fide Martens (1894)]; Architeuthis [fide Kilias (1967:491)]; Dosidicus gigas [fide Glaubrecht & Salcedo-Vargas (2004)] Entire Entire, internal parts missing, preserved in alcohol; "exceptionally good condition" (Glaubrecht & Salcedo-Vargas, 2004:55) Female (adult) ML: 865 mm; MW: 230 mm; EL: 1740 mm; HL: 160 mm; HW: 190 mm; FL: 440 mm; FW: 600 mm; TL: 720 mm; CL: 225 mm; AL(I): 460 mm; AL(II): 450 mm; AL(III): 500 mm; AL(IV): 440 mm; LSD: 20 mm [tentacle]; LSD: 15 mm [arm II]; LSD: 14 mm [arm II]; EyD: 80 mm; Lens: 35 mm ZMB Moll. 49.804 Martens (1894); Glaubrecht & Salcedo-Vargas (2004:53, figs. 1a–f, 2a–g) Möbius (1898a:373); Möbius (1898b:135); [Anonymous] (1899:38); [Anonymous] (1902a:41); Kilias (1967:491, fig.); Wechsler (1999) Non-architeuthid. On public display. First noted by Carl Eduard von Martens in November 1894. Exhibited at Museum für Naturkunde in Berlin from 1897 to World War II, and again from c. 1945–50, when it was housed in main entrance hall in large glass cylinder on marble pedestal.
From December 1975, displayed as part of "Meeresungeheuer" exhibit at German Maritime Museum in Stralsund, on loan from ZMB. Return to museum noted in February 1992, when it was placed in new purpose-built container and displayed in Malacological Collection. Incorrectly identified by Kilias (1967:491) as Architeuthis in figure legend, with total length given as ~2 m (illustration removed in later edition: Kilias, 1993). Specimen cast in 1997–98 for creation of 8.5-m-long plastic "giant squid" model, exhibited since 1998 at Übersee-Museum Bremen with sperm whale skull. Re-identified as Dosidicus gigas in June 1998 by Mario Alejandro Salcedo-Vargas. Internal parts apparently removed when specimen originally dissected by Martens or prepared for exhibition (1894–97).
4 February 1895 Bay of Tateyama [Tokyo Bay], Province of Awa, Japan
In net Architeuthis japonica Pfeffer, 1912 Entire Undetermined Female ML: 720 mm; MW: 235 mm; GL: 640 mm; FL: 280 mm; FW: 200 mm; TL: 2910 mm; extensive additional measurements and description Undetermined; ?Zoological Institute, Science College, Tokyo; holotype of Architeuthis japonica Pfeffer, 1912 Mitsukuri & Ikeda (1895:39, pl. 10); Pfeffer (1912:27) Sasaki (1916:89) Caught in net after 2–3-day storm.
18 July 1895 near Angra, Azores Islands (38°34'45"N, 29°37'W)
Caught at surface (from sperm whale vomit) using shrimp net Dubioteuthis physeteris Joubin, 1900 [=Architeuthis physeteris (Joubin, 1900) fide Voss (1956:136)] Mantle only Mantle Male ML: 460 mm; BD: 115 mm; FL: 220 mm; FW: 110 mm; GL: 390 mm MOM; holotype of Dubioteuthis physeteris Joubin, 1900 [fide Belloc (1950:6); listed incorrectly as station 558] Joubin (1900:102, pl. 15 figs. 8–10); Pfeffer (1912:24) Hardy (1956:288); Roper & Young (1972:220); Toll & Hess (1981b:753)
18 July 1895 near Angra, Azores Islands (38°34'45"N, 29°37'W)
Caught at surface (from sperm whale vomit) with shrimp net Architeuthis sp.?; Non-architeuthid [fide Pfeffer (1912:27)] Several jaws Undetermined None Joubin (1900:46, pl. 14 figs. 1–2) Pfeffer (1912:27); Clarke (1956b:257) Non-architeuthid.
10 April 1896 Kirkseteroren, Hevnefjord, Norway
Found washed ashore Architeuthis dux Steenstrup, 1857 Entire Entire Female BL: 2.5 m; AL: 2.5 m; TL: 7.25 m VSM Storm (1897:99); Grieg (1933:19) Brinkmann (1916:178); Nordgård (1923:11); Nordgård (1928:71); Sivertsen (1955:11)
27 September 1896 [28 September fide Roeleveld (2002:727)] Kirkseteroren, Hevnefjord, Norway
Found washed ashore Architeuthis dux Steenstrup, 1857 Entire Entire, posterior part missing Male TL: 1030+ mm; CL: 900 mm; CSC: 294; TSC: >298; LRL: 17.9 mm; URL: 16.2 mm; additional beak measurements, indices, and counts VSM; VSM 110a [specimen NA-18 of Roeleveld (2000) and Roeleveld (2002)] Storm (1897:99, fig. 20); Grieg (1933:19); Roeleveld (2000:185); Roeleveld (2002:727) Brinkmann (1916:178, fig. 2); Nordgård (1923:11); Nordgård (1928:71); Sivertsen (1955:11); Toll & Hess (1981b:753) Beak morphometrics studied by Roeleveld (2000). Tentacle morphology examined by Roeleveld (2002).
71 Unknown (reported 1898) Iceland
Not stated Architeuthis monachus Not specified Undetermined None Posselt (1898:279) Bardarson (1920:134)

Type specimens[edit]

The following table lists the nominal species-level taxa associated with the genus Architeuthis, together with their corresponding type specimens, type localities, and type repositories (after Voss, 1998:104; Sweeney & Roper, 2001:[5]; Sweeney & Young, 2003; Roper et al., 2015:82; Sweeney, 2017). Binomial names are listed alphabetically by specific epithet and presented in their original combinations.

Binomial name and author citation Systematic status Type locality Type specimen and type repository
Loligo bouyeri Crosse & Fischer, 1862:138 Architeuthid? [fide Gervais (1875:93)] Canary Islands? (#18) Unresolved
Architeuthis clarkei Robson, 1933:682, text-figs. 1–7, pl. 1 Undetermined Scarborough Beach, Yorkshire, England (#108) BMNH Holotype 1933.1.30.5 + 1926.3.31.24 (radula and beak) [fide Lipiński et al. (2000:106)]
Architeuthis dux Steenstrup, 1857:183 Nomen tantum
Architeuthis dux Steenstrup in Harting, 1860:11, pl. 1 fig. 1A Valid species [fide Nesis (1987:218)] 31°N 76°W / 31°N 76°W / 31; -76 (Giant squid specimen) (Atlantic Ocean) (#14) ZMUC Holotype [fide Kristensen & Knudsen (1983:222)]
Plectoteuthis grandis Owen, 1881:156, pls. 34–35 Architeuthis sp. [fide Pfeffer (1912:2)] Not indicated (#30) BMNH Holotype [fide Owen (1881:156)] [not traced by Lipiński et al. (2000)]
Loligo hartingii Verrill, 1875b:86, fig. 28 Valid species; Architeuthis hartingii [fide Verrill (1880a:240)] Not indicated (#16) University of Utrecht as Architeuthis dux, identification by Harting
Megaloteuthis harveyi Kent, 1874a:181 Architeuthis sp. Conception Bay, Newfoundland (#28) YPM Type 12600y [fide S.S. Berry unpublished notes at NMNH]
Architeuthis japonica Pfeffer, 1912:27 Undetermined Tokyo Bay, Japan (#67) Undetermined; Holotype [=Mitsukuri & Ikeda (1895:39–50, pl. 10)]
Architeuthis kirkii Robson, 1887:155 Architeuthis stockii (Kirk, 1882) [fide Förch (1998:89)] Cape Campbell, New Zealand (#61) NMNZ Holotype M.125404 + ?M.125406 [fide Marshall (1996:45)]
Architeuthis longimanus Kirk, 1888:34, pls. 7–9 Architeuthis stockii (Kirk, 1882) [fide Förch (1998:89)] Lyall Bay, New Zealand (#62) NMNZ Holotype; specimen not located [fide Marshall (1996:46)]
Megateuthis martensii Hilgendorf, 1880:67 Valid species; Architeuthis martensii [fide Undetermined] Yedo Japan fish market, Japan (#27) ZMB Moll. 34716 + 38980
Architeuthis megaptera Verrill, 1878:207 Non-architeuthid; Sthenoteuthis pteropus (Steenstrup, 1855) Nova Scotia, Canada (#[1]) NSMC 1870–Z-2
Architeuthis? monachus Steenstrup, 1857:184 Nomen tantum
Architeuthis monachus Steenstrup in Harting, 1860:11 Architeuthis dux Steenstrup, 1857 [fide Stephen (1962:154)] Raabjerg Strand; Northwest coast of Jutland, Denmark [fide Kristensen & Knudsen (1983:223)] (#13) ZMUC Holotype [fide Kristensen & Knudsen (1983:223)]
Architeuthis mouchezi Vélain, 1875:1002 Nomen nudum; see Mouchezis sancti-pauli
Architeuthis nawaji Cadenat, 1935:513 Undetermined Île d'Yeu, Bay of Biscay, France (#110) Unresolved
Dubioteuthis physeteris Joubin, 1900:102, pl. 15 Valid species; Architeuthis physeteris [fide Voss (1956:136)] Azores (38°34'45"N 29°37'W); from sperm whale stomach (#68) MOM Holotype [station 588] [fide Belloc (1950:6); listed incorrectly as station 558]
Architeuthis princeps Verrill, 1875a:22 Nomen nudum
Architeuthis princeps Verrill, 1875b:79, figs. 25–27 Undetermined a) Grand Banks, Newfoundland; b) North Atlantic (sperm whale stomach) (#22 and 26) NMNH? [not found in collections to date]; Syntypes (a) Verrill specimen No. 1, lower beak; b) Verrill specimen No. 10, upper and lower beak)
Dinoteuthis proboscideus More, 1875a:4527 Architeuthis sp. [fide Pfeffer (1912:2)] Dingle, County Kerry, Ireland (#3) Unresolved
Mouchezis sancti-pauli Vélain, 1877:81, text-fig. 8 Valid species; Architeuthis sanctipauli [fide Undetermined] on beach, St. Paul Island (38°43′S 77°32′E / 38.717°S 77.533°E / -38.717; 77.533 (Giant squid specimen)), South Indian Ocean (#33) MNHN Holotype 3-2-658 and 3-2-659 (tentacular clubs only) [fide Lu et al. (1995:324)]
Steenstrupia stockii Kirk, 1882:286, pl. 36 figs. 2–4 Valid species; Architeuthis stockii [fide Förch (1998:89)][Architeuthid fide Pfeffer (1912:2)] Cook Strait, New Zealand (#47) NMNZ Holotype M.125405 + M.125403 [fide Marshall (1996:45)]
Architeuthis titan Steenstrup in Verrill, 1875b:84 [in Verrill (1881b:238, footnote)] Nomen nudum
Architeuthis verrilli Kirk, 1882:284, pl. 36 fig. 1 Species dubium [fide Förch (1998:89)] Island Bay, Cook Strait, New Zealand (#55) NMNZ Holotype; [see Förch (1998:89)]


The following abbreviations are used in the List of giant squid table.

Oceanic sectors[edit]

Worldwide giant squid distribution based on recovered specimens

Oceanic sectors used in the main table follow Sweeney & Roper (2001): the Atlantic Ocean is divided into sectors at the equator and 30°W, the Pacific Ocean is divided at the equator and 180°, and the Indian Ocean is defined as the range 20°E to 115°E (the Arctic and Southern Oceans are not distinguished). An additional category has been created to accommodate the handful of specimens recorded from the Mediterranean Sea.

  • NEA, Northeast Atlantic Ocean
  • NWA, Northwest Atlantic Ocean
  • SEA, Southeast Atlantic Ocean
  • SWA, Southwest Atlantic Ocean
  • NEP, Northeast Pacific Ocean
  • NWP, Northwest Pacific Ocean
  • SEP, Southeast Pacific Ocean
  • SWP, Southwest Pacific Ocean
  • NIO, Northern Indian Ocean
  • SIO, Southern Indian Ocean
  • MED, Mediterranean Sea


Measuring mantle width
Measuring beak dimensions
Taking sucker counts

Abbreviations used for measurements and counts follow Sweeney & Roper (2001) and are based on standardised acronyms in teuthology, primarily those defined by Roper & Voss (1983), with the exception of several found in older references. Following Sweeney & Roper (2001), the somewhat non-standard EL ("entire" length) and WL ("whole" length) are used in place of the more common TL (usually total length; here tentacle length) and SL (usually standard length; here spermatophore length), respectively.

  • AC, arm circumference (AC(I), AC(II), AC(III) and AC(IV) refer to measurements of specific arm pairs)
  • AD, arm diameter (AD(I), AD(II), AD(III) and AD(IV) refer to measurements of specific arm pairs)
  • AF, arm formula
  • AL, arm length (AL(I), AL(II), AL(III) and AL(IV) refer to measurements of specific arm pairs)
  • ASC, arm sucker count
  • ASD, arm sucker diameter
  • BAC, buccal apparatus circumference
  • BAL, buccal apparatus length
  • BC, body circumference (assumed to mean greatest circumference of mantle unless otherwise specified)
  • BD, body diameter (assumed to mean greatest diameter of mantle)
  • BL, body length (usually equivalent to mantle length, as head length is often given separately)
  • CaL, carpus length
  • CL, club length (usually refers to expanded portion at the apex of tentacle)
  • CSC, club sucker count
  • CSD, club sucker diameter (usually largest) [usually equivalent to LSD]
  • CW, club width
  • DC, dactylus club length
  • EC, egg count
  • 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
  • EyOD, eye orbit diameter
  • FL, fin length
  • FuCL, funnel cartilage length
  • FuCW, funnel cartilage width
  • FuD, funnel opening diameter
  • FuL, funnel length
  • FW, fin width
  • GiL, gill length
  • GL, gladius (pen) length
  • GW, gladius (pen) width
  • G(W), daily growth rate (%)
  • HC, head circumference
  • HeL, hectocotylus length
  • HL, head length (most often base of arms to edge of mantle)
  • HW, head width
  • LAL, longest arm length
  • LRL, lower rostral length of beak
  • LSD, largest sucker diameter (on tentacle club) [usually equivalent to CSD]
  • MaL, manus length
  • ML, dorsal mantle length (used only where stated as such)
  • MT, mantle thickness
  • MW, maximum mantle width (used only where stated as such)
  • NGL, nidamental gland length
  • PL, penis length
  • RaL, radula length
  • RaW, radula width
  • RL, rachis length
  • RW, rachis width
  • SInc, number of statolith increments
  • SL, spermatophore length
  • SoA, spermatophores on arms
  • SSD, stalk sucker diameter
  • SSL, spermatophore sac length
  • TaL, tail length
  • TC, tentacle circumference (most often of tentacle stalk)
  • TCL, tentacle club length
  • TD, tentacle diameter (most often of tentacle stalk)
  • TL, tentacle length
  • TSC, tentacle sucker count (club and stalk combined)
  • TSD, tentacle sucker diameter (usually largest)
  • URL, upper rostral length of beak
  • VML, ventral mantle length
  • 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


Giant squid head being removed from storage at the VSM in Trondheim, Norway

Institutional acronyms follow Sweeney & Roper (2001) and are primarily those defined by Leviton et al. (1985), Leviton & Gibbs (1988), and Sabaj (2016). Where the acronym is unknown, the full repository name is listed.

Specimen images[edit]

The following images relate to pre–20th century giant squid specimens and sightings. The number below each image corresponds to that given in the List of giant squid table and is linked to the relevant record therein. The date on which the specimen was first documented is also given (the little-endian day/month/year date format is used throughout).

Notes and references[edit]

Explanatory footnotes[edit]

The Adventure of the Giant Squid by N. C. Wyeth (c. 1939). Though fictional accounts often depict giant squid attacking boats (cf. #28), live animals found at the surface are almost invariably sick or dying, and no injuries resulting from such encounters have ever been documented (Dery, 2013).
  1. ^ Verrill's marginal annotations read as follows: "Architeuthis monachus (No. 5) Logie Bay, N. Foundland about ​18 natural size between ​18 and ​19. The tub is 38 ​12 inches [98 cm] in diameter and circular. Harvey (?) letter. Some of the suckers are broken off on the short arms. They alternate in two regular rows. On the club of the long arm there is a marginal row of small suckers on each side alternating with the large ones. One sucker gone on this long arm." (Aldrich, 1991:459).
  2. ^ A small number of naturalists became convinced of the existence of giant cephalopods even prior to Steenstrup's writings (Kent, 1874c:116–117), one example being Hamilton Smith, F.R.S., who examined a beak and other parts of an "enormous Sepia" preserved at the Museum of Haarlem (now Teylers Museum) and presented his findings to the British Association for the Advancement of Science in 1841 (Smith, 1842:73; Earle, 1977:20).
  3. ^ Ellis (1998a:86) described Verrill as someone with "an almost limitless capacity for work", who "began publishing papers on these specimens almost as fast as they came in". The full list of Verrill's publications on the Newfoundland strandings of 1870–1881 is as follows: Verrill 1874a, b, 1875a, b, c, 1876, 1877, 1878, 1880a, b, 1881a, b, 1882a, c.
  4. ^ The Logy Bay specimen of November 1873 (#29) was the first complete giant squid to be photographed (Offord, 2016; Keartes, 2016), albeit in two parts and across two frames (Aldrich, 1991:458). Although cited by Aldrich (1991:459) as "the first photographs of an architeuthid in North America", the specimen directly preceding it chronologically (by almost exactly a month; #28 from Portugal Cove) was also photographed, though here only a severed tentacle—the only part saved—was imaged. Woodcuts prepared from this latter photograph appeared in a number of periodicals of the time, including The Field and The Annals and Magazine of Natural History (Harvey, 1874a:68; Verrill, 1875a:34). The giant squid found beached on Île Saint-Paul on 2 November 1874 (#33) was another early specimen to be photographed (Wright, 1878:329). Perhaps the earliest of all was the beak of the October 1871 specimen (#22) from the Grand Banks of Newfoundland, whose photograph was taken some time after its discovery but already mentioned in February 1873 by Packard (1873:92).
  5. ^ Unconfirmed mass appearances of giant squid include the claim by Frederick Aldrich that a "school of 60 has been sighted off the coast of Newfoundland" (Aldrich, 1967b), possibly in reference to #38. Richard Ellis noted that Aldrich never repeated this claim in print, "so it is likely that he learned it was not accurately reported" (Ellis, 1998a:241). Aldrich also told Clyde Roper that "Grand Banks fishermen have reported seeing hundreds of giant squid bodies floating on the surface" (Roper & Shea, 2013:111).
  6. ^ a b c Kirk (1888:38) provides a table with a detailed breakdown of the specimen's various measurements. There is, however, a discrepancy between the total length of 684 in (17.37 m, or exactly 57 ft) given in the table—which agrees with the individual values of 71 in (1.80 m) for the mantle, 22 in (0.56 m) for the head, and 591 in (15.01 m) for the tentacles—and the total length of 55 ft 2 in (16.81 m) given by Kirk in the body of the article. Wood (1982:191) suggested that, due to the tentacles' highly retractile nature, the total length of 62 feet (18.9 m) originally reported by the fisherman "may have been correct at the time he found the squid", and that "[t]his probably also explains the discrepancy in Kirk's figures". Owing to its small mantle size, Wood (1982:191) estimated that "this specimen probably weighed less than 300 lb [140 kg]". O'Shea & Bolstad (2008) opined that the reported total length of 55 ft 2 in (16.81 m) "simply cannot be correct" and attributed it to either "imagination" or artificial lengthening of the tentacles. They added that a female giant squid with a mantle length of 71 in (180 cm) "measured post mortem and relaxed (by modern standards) today would have a total length of ~32 feet [9.8 m]". Paxton (2016a:86) wrote that this specimen "clearly has the largest ratio of TL to ML [total length to mantle length] ever known in Architeuthis [...] which led [O'Shea & Bolstad, 2008] to suggest that the length was paced out and/or there was extensive post-mortem stretching. However, a re-reading of the original paper suggests that the specimen, although initially paced out, was actually measured, nevertheless the TL is at the edge of the 99.9% prediction interval range [...] and so it was certainly an unusual specimen."
  7. ^ One record given by Ellis is omitted from the present list: Ellis (1998a:259) lists a specimen supposedly collected "[n]orth of Bahamas" in 1898, citing Steenstrup (1898), but this appears to stem from confusion with the type specimen of Architeuthis dux (#14), collected off the Bahamas in 1855.
  8. ^ Published purported giant squid sightings thus excluded include those of J. D. Starkey from World War II (Starkey, 1963; Bright, 1989:148; Ellis, 1998a:204; Paxton, 2016a:83), Dennis Braun from 1969 (Ellis, 1998a:245; Paxton, 2016a:83), Jacques Cousteau (Cousteau & Diolé, 1973:205; Ellis, 1998a:208), Tim Lipington from 1994 (Lipington, 2007–2009; Lipington, 2008; Paxton, 2016a:83), C. A. McDowall (McDowall, 1998; Ellis, 1998a:248), Gordon Robertson (Revkin, 2013), and the "Giant Squid Found" MonsterQuest episode (see Cassell, 2007). Supposed specimens thus excluded include Charles H. Dudoward's 1892 and 1922 carcasses (variously described as octopuses or squid; LeBlond & Sibert, 1973:11,32; Bright, 1989:140; Ellis, 1998a:202) and the so-called St. Augustine Monster of 1896 (initially postulated by Verrill, 1897:79 to be a giant squid, later a gigantic octopus, and eventually shown to be the remains of a whale). Frost (1934:103), citing the 21 December 1933 issue of the Evening Telegram of St. John's, mentioned that Hon. Capt. A. Kean claimed he had found a giant squid at Flowers Cove "measuring 72 feet [22 m] from tip to tip, and almost dead", more than 50 years earlier. Similarly, Kilias (1993:610) wrote of a specimen from Flowers Cove supposedly measuring 21.95 m (Glaubrecht & Salcedo-Vargas, 2004:64). This record is likewise excluded due to a lack of substantiating evidence.
  9. ^ The giant squid has long been mooted as a possible explanation for "sea monster" sightings (Gould, 1886; Gibson, 1887; Ellis, 1994a), including, most famously, the kraken (Lee, 1875, 1883; Buel, 1887:81; Bullen, 1898:139; Allan, 1955a, b; Heuvelmans, 1958; Garcin & Raynal, 2011; Salvador & Tomotani, 2014; Walker, 2016; Naish, 2017), but also various "sea serpents" (Oudemans, 1892; Ellis, 1994b), such as the one purportedly seen off Greenland in 1734 and later reported by Hans Egede (Lee, 1883:64; Ellis, 1998a:15; but see Paxton et al., 2005), that spotted by the crew of HMS Daedalus in 1848 (Lee, 1883:79; Ellis, 1998a:20; Switek, 2011; but see Galbreath, 2015:42), and even Scylla of Greek mythology (Ley, 1941). However, some authors have cautioned against attributing such sightings to giant squid (Paxton, 2003) and offered alternative explanations (France, 2016a, b, 2017).

Full citations[edit]


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  • Imperadore, P. & G. Fiorito (2018). Cephalopod tissue regeneration: consolidating over a century of knowledge. Frontiers in Physiology 9: 593. doi:10.3389/fphys.2018.00593
  • Iverson, I.L.K. (1971). Albacore food habits. [pp. 11–46] In: L. Pinkas, M.S. Oliphant & I.L.K. Iverson. Food Habits of Albacore, Bluefin Tuna, and Bonito in California Waters. Fish Bulletin no. 152, California Department of Fish and Game. 105 pp.
  • Iwai, E. (1956). Descriptions on unidentified species of dibranchiate cephalopods. I. An oegopsiden squid belonging to the genus Architeuthis. Scientific Reports of the Whales Research Institute, Tokyo, 11[Jun.]: 139–151, 1 text-figure, 5 plates.


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