Huge squid discovered

07 September 2017 | Environment

Otis Finck

Jean-Paul Roux, a scientist with the ministry of fisheries and marine resources stationed with the Lüderitz Marine Research team, reported the discovery of a giant squid that washed out at Guano Bay on 29 August.

Roux confirmed that there were no additional stranding reports received since the four cases registered until April this year. He said that it was not the first recording of such a nature in the area and that it was a rare find.

“The opening of the mantle revealed that the animal was a mature female. I have no idea why the animal died as there were no obvious signs of what might have killed it. There were no indications of any injuries or that it had been trapped in a fishing net. These animals are a rarity worldwide and are only found in the deep sea.”

According to Roux the animal was 4 metres in length. Two of its tentacles were missing and it could have been longer than 10 metres.

“A rough beach post-mortem conducted on the carcass determined the length of the animal’s mantle was 189 cm and the shape and size fits with Architeuthis Sanctipauli. This family includes the largest cephalopods, and this species has been recorded with a total length (including tentacles) of around 13 metres. This means that the initial length measurement of 401 cm of the animal’s mantle, head and tentacles (without the missing long tentacles) on the first day of its discovery was probably an underestimate since none of the tentacles had intact tips.”

Kite surfers preparing for the 2017 Lüderitz Speed Challenge scheduled to take place from 16 October to 26 November also shared photos of the discovery and commented via the social media page of the Lüderitz Speed Challenge that there is never a dull moment around the Lüderitz peninsula .

Mysterious giant squids are elusive deep sea dwellers and are so poorly known that it is not even known how many different species exist. The giant squid (genus Architeuthis) is a deep-ocean dwelling squid of the family Architeuthidae and can grow to a tremendous size due to deep-sea gigantism.

Estimates put the maximum size at 13 m for females and 10 m for males from the posterior fins to the tip of the two long tentacles, second only to the colossal squid at an estimated 14 m, one of the largest living organisms. The mantle is about 2 m long (more for females, less for males), and the length of the squid excluding its tentacles (but including head and arms) rarely exceeds 5 m.

The second part of the Coastal Biodiversity Week with Biodiversity and Sustainable Tourism as theme is scheduled for 9 to 16 September. The aim is to raise awareness and education on the importance of biodiversity conservation and sustainable development in coastal areas.

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