Fishing for Architeuthis, the giant squid

| 11 Comments

Lots of people have been emailing me with the news about this filmed sequence showing a giant squid snagged on a deep line. Did you know that the paper is freely available online (pdf)? It's very cool. The researchers were jigging for squid with a 1km long line, snagged one by a tentacle, and then watched for the next four hours as it struggled to get free.

The squid's initial attack was captured on camera (figure 3a) and shows the two long tentacles characteristic of giant squid wrapped in a ball around the bait. The giant squid became snagged on the squid jig by the club of one of these long tentacles. More than 550 digital images were taken over the subsequent 4 h which record the squid's repeated attempts to detach from the jig. For the first 20 min, the squid disappeared from view as it actively swam away from the camera system. For the next 80 min, the squid repeatedly approached the line, spreading its arms widely (e.g. figure 3b) or enveloping the line. During this period the entire camera system was drawn upwards by the squid from 900 m to a depth of 600 m (figure 3g). Over the subsequent 3 h, the squid and system slowly returned to the planned deployment depth of 1000 m. For the last hour, the line was out of the camera frame, suggesting that the squid was attempting to break free by swimming (finning and/or jetting) away from the system. Four hours and 13 min after becoming snagged, the attached tentacle broke, as seen by sudden slackness in the line (figure 3c versus d ). The severed tentacle remained attached to the line and was retrieved with the camera system (figure 3e). The recovered section of tentacle was still functioning, with the large suckers of the tentacle club repeatedly gripping the boat deck and any offered fingers (figure 3f ).

I've put the figure they describe online. It's a thing of beauty: an 8meter (26 foot) beast attacking the bait. Remind me not to go swimming below 500m, OK?

(figure on Pharyngula)

11 Comments

That report is incomplete. The researchers recovered a tentacle from that event. Inquiring minds want to know: How did it taste?

My wife made me look at that, this morining. Then I started talking about Giant Squid Pensis. Think I read about them at PZ’s site.

There’s more evidence for a giant squid than for the darwinian mechanism. I hope some mad darwinist answers this one.

Comment #49984

Posted by Darwin Hater on September 28, 2005 12:41 PM (e) (s)

There’s more evidence for a giant squid than for the darwinian mechanism. I hope some mad darwinist answers this one.

You know, this comment reminds me of ID. For all its sound and fury, it asks nothing, though it demands answers; offers nothing, but makes an assertion.

What was the question to be answered? Was it about the squid? It’s eyes? Or was it about evolutionary processes. And, more to the point, why would anyone care to as the answer, given tens of thousands of times before, has yet to be heard?

I am no animal rights fanatic. Nothing wrong with killing animals for a good reason. But this seems like gratuitous cruelty. 4 hours of torturing an animal is not cool.

You know, this comment reminds me of ID. For all its sound and fury, it asks nothing, though it demands answers; offers nothing, but makes an assertion.

And, it’s stupid. So there’s that.

Re “Remind me not to go swimming below 500m, OK?”

Ok - don’t go swimming below 500m. :)

(Btw, it’s still a mollusk.)

Henry

Paul Marshall wrote

I am no animal rights fanatic. Nothing wrong with killing animals for a good reason. But this seems like gratuitous cruelty. 4 hours of torturing an animal is not cool.

Read the article. The squid attacked the camera apparatus 900 meters down and got entangled. Just who was Paul expecting to free dive to 900 m. to release it?

RBH

Great news, although I hope we could just observe the animal without mutilating it. Kudos to the Japanese scientists who took these wonderful photos! FYI, I linked to this article from Wikinerds Portal.

Yippee! I now know what my students will be reading about and discussing in class tommorrow. The ‘cool’ stuff just serves as such a strong hook for struggling kids. (Sorry about the hook reference NSK and Paul Marshall)

Vandalhooch

Has anyone noticed the striking resemblance between the giant squid and the FSM?

Could it actually be that giant squid are the REAL pinnacle of design?!?

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by PZ Myers published on September 28, 2005 12:05 PM.

A few anniversary musings. was the previous entry in this blog.

Sartwell on Dover is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

Categories

Archives

Author Archives

Powered by Movable Type 4.381

Site Meter