A real sea giant. Scientists told which squid is the largest on Earth (photo)
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In fact, two giant cephalopods claim the title of the largest squid in the world.
Legends of giant squid have existed for many thousands of years, and the first photographs confirmed that such animals lived in the ocean 150 years ago. But which squid can be called the largest on Earth? This question was answered by scientists to the publication Live Science.
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Depending on how the squid is measured, two species claim to be the largest squid in the world: the architeuthis or giant squid (Architeuthis dux), which is the longest, and the Antarctic giant squid (Mesonychoteuthis hamiltoni), which is the heaviest.
According to Heather Judkins from the University of South Florida, USA, architeuthis live in all the oceans of the planet. Their length can reach from 12 to 14 meters, and weight – up to 270 kg. Some sailors have claimed to have seen giant squid 20 meters long, but scientists have not yet confirmed this.
As for the Antarctic giant squid, these cephalopods, as the name implies, live in the waters next to Antarctica, although they can swim to the north, closer to New Zealand. Their length reaches 9-10 meters, but they weigh about 450 kg. Thus, this squid is the heaviest invertebrate animal on Earth.
Both the giant squid and the Antarctic giant squid have the largest eyes of any living animal, and possibly the largest eyes that have ever existed in an animal on Earth in its entire history. They are about 27 cm wide.
“But unlike architeutis, the Antarctic giant squid's eyes have a special light-emitting organ that works like headlights so that the squid can see in the dark at very great depths,” says Judkins.
The Antarctic giant squid also has the largest beak of any squid, which is made up of a substance similar to that of human fingernails. The squid uses its beak to cut its prey into pieces before it enters the mouth, and the toothed, tongue-like organ grinds up the food once it's inside the beak.
Both huge species of squid feed on fish and other squid. After they become adults, the only predator that can threaten these squids is the sperm whale. Scientists believe that these squids can make up about 2/3 of the sperm whale's diet. Due to the fact that these giant squids live very deep in the oceans, they are rarely seen.
Ancient Greek and Roman scientists wrote about these sea monsters, but it was not until 1874 that the first photograph of a huge dead squid appeared, who was caught off the coast of Newfoundland, Canada.
According to scientists, most of the information about the giant squid of these two species, they get thanks to the remains of these animals that either swim on the surface of the oceans, or wash up on the shore, or are found in the stomachs of sperm whales.
For the first time, scientists were able to photograph an adult giant squid in its natural habitat only in 2004, and the first video recording they were able to do it only in 2012.
As for the Antarctic giant squid, scientists will try to first detect a living creature in the waters of Antarctica, and take a photo of it, only in December of this year.
As Focus already wrote, the body of a giant squid washed ashore in New Zealand in September September of this year. But its length is only 4 meters.
As for other cephalopods, Focus has already written that scientists have discovered a new common feature in humans and octopuses.