The Giant Squid (Architeuthis dux) is a marine (saltwater) soft-bodied invertebrate cephalopod. It is related to the Octopus and the Nautilus.
The Giant Squid has a grey mantle (body), eight arms, and two longer tentacles. The arms and tentacles are arranged in a circle surrounding the squid’s mouth. Its mouth looks like a parrot’s beak. It has two very large eyes so that it can detect light in the very dark deep ocean.
The inside of its arms and tentacles have hundreds of suction caps, which are 2-5 centimetres (1-2 inches) in diameter. Each tentacle is divided into three segments: (1) carpus (wrist), (2) manus (hand), and (3) dactylus (fingers). It has two large gills to enable it to breathe in oxygen from the water.
It can grow to 13 metres (43 feet) long. Females are larger than males. The mantle is about 200 centimetres (79 inches) long. Its eyes measures about 27 centimetres (11 inches) in diameter, which are the largest eyes of any animal in the world. Its pupil is 9 centimetres (3.5 inches) in diameter.
The Giant Squid lives in the deep ocean in all of the world’s seas. It prefers warm waters, rather than tropical waters or polar waters.
It has small fins at the back of its mantle which it uses for locomotion – enabling it to swim through the water. It is propelled by jet propulsion – water goes into the mantle cavity (hole or space), and is pushed through the siphon. The movement is gentle and rhythmic pulses. It can move quickly or slowly.
The Giant Squid is carnivorous, eating fish, crustaceans, other squid, and small aquatic animals.
It has dark ink which it uses to distract predators. Its predators include the Sperm Whale, the Pilot Whale, and sometimes sharks.
The female lays many eggs.
Photographer: Martina Nicolls
Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM