Grandest of all the Invertebrates

Question: Do you know what is the largest invertebrate in the world?

Answer: The Giant Squid!

Giant Squids are renowned for their mystery and for good reason: scientists don’t really know that much about them. For instance, we don’t know really know how large they can get, because there hasn’t been enough seen live to get a great sample size.

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Infograph shared from this wonderful blog: https://photosciencechanel.com/tag/giant-squid/

The largest squid on record, by the way, is a whopping 59 feet long, breaking the scales at nearly one ton, although this number can be disputed.  It is quite difficult to measure Giant Squids, as people tend to exaggerate sightings, and  once removed from the water they tend to take on an extra stretchy quality.

Like all squids, these giants have a mantle, a beak, 8 arms, and 2 tentacles. The arms and tentacles are lined with suction cups (which are then lined with serrated rings of chitin).

Giant Squids display the characteristics of “deep sea gigantism”, which is this interesting and not wholly understood phenomenon of invertebrates and other animals being much larger at great depths than their shallower cousins. The vertical distribution of Giant Squids is not known for certain, but scientists estimate that they range from 300-1000 METERS deep.

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Everything about these guys is impressive.  They are known for having the largest eyes in the animal kingdom, measuring 10 inches in diameter, aiding in sight at depths where light is almost completely non existent.They are found in every ocean on the planet…while at the same time, they are all of a single species!  Even cooler, they are known for having epic battles with Sperm Whales; their remains have been found in the stomach of whales, although it is considered that fully grown adult squids would be too large for an adult female Sperm whale to catch!

In 2012, Scientists in Japan were finally able to capture the first actual footage of a live Giant Squid:

 

So much is unknown about these giant wonders.   Isn’t it incredible that animals this size have so many secrets? Our ocean is truly an unexplored marvel, and I can’t wait to learn more as we explore further.

yours, larger than life:

-merbabe