The Giant Squid represents an extreme deep ocean dwelling variety of squid. It forms a member of the Architeuthidae family, and in size, this also remains the second largest of all known species of squid. Only the Colossal Squid grows slightly larger.
This animal achieves its enormous size through the principle of deep-sea gigantism. yet the exact reason for this principle remains undetermined.
In simple terms: the deeper a species of invertebrate resides in the ocean, the larger they tend to be, in relation to species found at shallower depths.
Due to the depths at which they reside, live specimens rarely get photographed, and such photographs tend to be of poor quality.
Giant Squid Physical Characteristics
This cephalopod exhibits sexual dimorphism with respect to size. The males rarely attain a length of more than 33 ft (10 m), yet the maximum measured size in females is almost 43 ft (13 m), from tentacle tip to tentacle tip.
Like all known forms of squid, the Giant Squid possesses a mantle, eight arms, and two longer tentacles. Despite their great size, they do not weigh a great deal. The average weight for the females is about 606 lb (275 kg), and just over half that for males.
The mantle measures roughly 6.6 ft (2 m) in length, for the females. Each arm and tentacle also have a covering of hundreds of suction cups. The perimeter of each of these has a lining of rings of highly serrated chitin.
The Giant Squid possesses a highly sophisticated nervous system and a complex brain structure.
Giant Squid Ecology
The above photo has a very poor quality, but it was the first photo ever taken of a living Giant Squid, back in 2010.
The species feed on a wide variety of deep-sea fish, as well as other types of squid. They capture their prey with the two longer tentacles and bring the hapless victim to the large, powerful beak.
Little definitive evidence exists pertaining to their hunting habits. Perhaps they hunt singly, given that those accidentally ensnared by deep-sea fishing nets always occur alone.
The only known predator of an adult Giant Squid remains the sperm whale. Sharks may feed on juvenile specimens, however.
They inhabit all oceans, prefer deeper depths, and rarely occur at depths of less than 1000 ft (305 m).