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Intact colossal squid sliced open


The colossal squid that have been subjected to analysis. (Phot Credit: Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa YouTube)

Click on the flag for more information about New ZealandNEW ZEALAND 
Thursday, September 18, 2014, 04:00 (GMT + 9)
A 350-kilogram colossal squid (Mesonychoteuthis hamiltoni) -- which had been caught bySanford fishing boat San Aspiring in Antarctic waters last summer and kept in a freezer since then -- was finally sliced open by a team of researchers from the Te Papa museum, in Wellington.
These scientists -- led by Kat Bolstad from Auckland University of Technology (AUT) University and the University of Otago -- spent several hours examining and sampling different tissues and discovered the colossal animal is female, has got 35 cm-wide eyes, slightly over 1 m legs and believe its two tentacles would have been perhaps double their length if they had not been damaged, Radio New Zealand informed.
“This is essentially an intact specimen, which is almost an unparalleled opportunity for us to examine,” Bolstad remarked. “This is a spectacular opportunity.”
Colossal squid are slightly shorter but much heavier than giant squid and have rotating hooks and rows of suckers on their long arms and tentacles, APNZ informed.
"The colossal squid eye is the largest in the animal kingdom. We will now have a good look at the retina and the eye lens," Bolstad pointed out.
These researchers also found out that the some of the prey the squid had eaten was still in its stomach.
Heather Braid, who is part of the AUT team and specialises in squid genetics, said this was the first time anybody had found stomach contents in a colossal squid.
Colossal squid live in the deep ocean around Antarctica and are a favoured prey item for sperm whales, but scientists do not know what these enormous cephalopods feed on.
"The only thing that's known so far, based on isotope analysis where you use the concentration of nitrogen and carbon in tissue to determine where it sits in the food chain, is that it is a top predator, but we don't know what it eats," Braid explained.
These researchers took samples of goo from the animal to see what bacteria might keep the squid company. They also hope to see whether human impact on ocean chemistry is affecting the colossal squid.
The scientists informed the specimen will shortly be placed in a new chemical solution to prevent decomposition.

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