Its eyes are the size of dinner plates; its tentacles, large enough to fashion tractor wheel-sized calamari rings. It stretches longer than a semi-truck, weighs more than a Harley, and glides effortlessly throughout the darkest depths of the Antarctic waters, using razor sharp hooks to gobble up the unlucky that fall into its path.
This is not the tale of a fabled sea monster or an excerpt from a Herman Melville classic. This is the true story of a colossal catch netted by New Zealand fishermen earlier this month. It took two hours to land what is presumably the largest and only mature male specimen of a colossal squid - a rare find indeed.
The squid was alive at capture and feasting on a hooked toothfish, the fishermen's target catch. It has since been frozen and shipped off to New Zealand's national museum where it will be preserved for scientific research.
Officials estimated the leviathan to weigh slightly less than 1,000 pounds and measure 39 feet in length.
This is the second time fishermen have nabbed a colossal squid, the first coming in 2004 with the capture of an immature female in the Ross Sea near the Antarctic coast. These mysterious creatures - not to be confused with giant squid, which are found in waters around New Zealand - are found in Antarctic waters and can plunge to depths of 6,500 feet.
- Live Action Role-Play for the Baltic Sea: Finding New Ways to Address Environmental Troubles Posted Mon, September 29, 2014
- Ocean Roundup: Giant Cuttlefish Decline Remains a Mystery, President Obama Creates World's Largest MPA, and More Posted Thu, September 25, 2014
- Oceana Magazine: Q&A with Justin Winters, Executive Director of Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation Posted Fri, September 26, 2014
- Ocean Roundup: UN Sounds Alarm on Mangrove Disappearance, Brazil to Triple Marine Protected Areas, and More Posted Tue, September 30, 2014
- President Obama Designates World’s Largest Marine Protected Area in Pacific Ocean Posted Thu, September 25, 2014