Second Colossal Squid for NZ Museum

Seven years after a New Zealand museum captured the world’s attention with the first colossal squid, a second of the mammoth sea creatures has been added to Te Papa’s collection.

Wellington scientists are excited by the opportunity to examine another of the giant invertebrates that has been fished from the depths of the Southern Ocean off Antarctica.

“This is a unique once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see something very rare and inspect it to really understand how it goes about its daily life,” senior curator Susan Waugh told AAP.

The squid was caught over the summer by a trawler fishing for toothfish 2km beneath the ocean’s surface.

It was kept on ice for its journey back to New Zealand and was placed in one of Te Papa’s large freezers after arriving a few weeks ago, Dr Waugh said.

The new squid will join the first complete colossal squid (pictured), a 495kg specimen which was caught in 2007 and put on display at Te Papa in 2008.

The museum is yet to defrost and closely examine the second squid, but they believe it will weigh in at slightly less than the first one. It’s not yet known if it is a female, like the first, or a male, a significantly rarer find.

“That would be exciting indeed, as there hasn’t been any large males captured before,” she said.

“Even if it’s a female it’s very exciting as we really know very little about the species in general, how it lives, how it catches its prey, how its reproductive cycle works.”

The museum will bring in squid specialists to help with processing when it is thawed in September.

They hope to get the squid’s genetic signature and investigate the biochemistry of the fresh tissue in the few hours before the specimen is preserved.

Dr Waugh said it’s yet to be decided if the second squid will be displayed in the same way as the original, but it’s “very likely” it will also remain whole.

Original story posted on

Image from Te Papa.

Tags: colossal squid  Dr Susan Waugh  giant squid  Southern Ocean  Te Papa  Te Papa Museum of New Zealand  

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