At half a ton this badass represents the largest invertebrate ever known. The Giant Squid is longer but not heavier. The Colossal Squid has hooks that run the length of its arms. It weighs a half ton and has hooked arms! The eye of the Colossal Squid is bigger than the Giant Squid. In fact the eye is the largest eye of any animal…The Colossal Squid can also cloak those eyes like a Klingon Bird of Prey. Did I mention hooks? So overall the Colossal Squid is the largest invertebrate on earth with special powers that stem from its large eyes, possesses stealth technology, and massive tentacles lined with razor-sharp hooks. The Giant Squid is the cute cuddly one.
However, the colossal squid may be a sluggish predator. Rosa and Seibel argue, based on some models of metabolism in other squids, that
“… the colossal squid is not a voracious predator capable of high-speed predator–prey interactions. It is, rather, an ambush or sit-and-float predator that uses the hooks on its arms and tentacles to ensnare prey that unwittingly approach.”
Of course when you have hooks for arms why not just sit and wait?
Steve O’Shea, expert of all big and squiddy, also noted from his dissection of the Te Papa specimen that as the female matures she gets shorter, broader, and more gelatinous. i.e. she get fat and lazy. Simply put she is a large gooey vessel for thousands of eggs. I think its a bit unfair to call her fat and lazy. She has simply chosen to invest her time and energy elsewhere. You try carrying thoudands of eggs and see how fat and lazy you become.
This all brings me around to more current events. The specimen housed in the Te Papa Museum in Wellington, New Zealand is the largest complete specimen of a Colossal Squid. The Colossal Squid has been known to the scientific community since 1925 when it was described from two arm crowns recovered from a sperm whale stomach at the Falkland Islands. Only nine specimens above juvenile size have been reported since 1925, none complete. In February 2007 the longlining vessel San Aspiring, fishing for Antarctic toothfish (Dissostichus mawsoni Norman) in the Ross Sea caught this 495kg (1091 lbs, 0.5 ton) adult specimen.
But the best part? The specimen is available for the public to see and I just happen to be in Wellington for the 2012 Deep-Sea Biology Symposium.