Dissecting a massive squid: live
Ever seen a colossal squid dissected?
Ever seen a colossal squid dissected? Me neither. In fact, few biologists have glimpsed an intact specimen of the rare and elusive linkurl:squid;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/14392/ species, much less observed one being probed and prodded on the dissection table. That's the reason a webcast beaming from the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa recently caught my attention.
Scientists there are defrosting a colossal squid that fishermen pulled from the icy waters of the Ross Sea off Antarctica last year. The colossal squid, __Mesonychoteuthis hamiltoni__, is the largest ever caught, tipping the scales at about 495 kilograms and measuring about 10 meters long. By comparison, the giant squid (__Architeuthis__ sp.) is estimated to reach a maximum weight of only 276 kilograms and an average length of about five meters. Scientists estimate that colossal squids could reach 15 meters in length.
The colossal squid has been frozen in a giant block of ice since its capture, and researchers at the New Zealand museum will examine it in front of the cameras sometime this week. They will fully dissect a smaller (about 200 kilograms) colossal squid while leaving the larger specimen largely intact for display in the museum.
The scientists will measure ammonia levels in the animals' tissues, which some squids use to regulate buoyancy, and will study the morphology of its specialized suckers. You can watch the largest colossal squid specimen ever caught defrost, the dissection of other giant and colossal squids, and stay abreast of all the squidy action linkurl:here.;http://www.tepapa.govt.nz/TePapa/English/CollectionsAndResearch/CollectionAreas/NaturalEnvironment/Molluscs/ColossalSquid/