Daily Mail, London, UK
04/04/03 - News and city section
Colossus of the deep
By Richard Shears, Daily Mail in Sydney
It has eyes as large as dinner plates, suckers to cling to its prey,
razor-sharp hooks to tear its victims to pieces and two beaks to crunch up
It is mesonychoteuthis hamiltoni, also known as the Colossal Squid, a rare
and lethal killing machine from the cold and dark depths of the Antarctic
The species has been photographed for the first time after the specimen here
was accidentally trapped in fishing nets.
It is larger and more aggressive than the giant squid which supposedly
attacked Captain Nemo's Nautilus in Jules Verne's novel Twenty Thousand
Leagues Under the Sea.
The half-grown female, which is being examined in a laboratory in
Wellington, New Zealand, measures more than 18ft and weighs 23 stone. Fully
grown, it would have come close to 40ft long.
'This is a very aggressive, dangerous animal - mark my words,' said marine
biologist and squid expert Dr Steve O'Shea as he studied the two arms and
eight fearsome tentacles, each of which has up to 25 teeth-like hooks.
'The Colossal is a gelatinous blob with seriously evil arms on it. If you
were to fall into the water down there in the Antarctic, if the cold didn't
get you first, something like this could devour you in seconds.'
Scientists think the animal was feeding on 6ft Patagonian Toothfish when it
Dr O'Shea said he knew such creatures existed because a 4ft 'baby' was
caught by a Russian trawler in Antarctic waters in the 1970s and the remains
of other squid have been found in the stomachs of stranded sperm whales.
Large squid and sperm whales have been known to have terrible fights to the
death because of the scars, caused by the squid's razors, found on the heads
of sperm whales.
At least ten species of large squid - 6ft or longer - swim through the
The Colossal's body is much larger than the giant squid's but its tentacles
are shorter. Dr O'Shea said: ' This discovery raises questions about what
else lives down deep in the ocean, so from a science point of view this
catch is absolutely priceless.
'If animals like this are turning up in waters that are 6,000ft deep, what
is going on at 10,000ft?'
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