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The sea has cast ashore a squid weighing over 300 kg!

In Africa, the sea has thrown ashore the body of a giant squid. A photo of the giant cephalopod found on the beach went viral around the world. It is extremely unique to record the existence of such a large specimen. The body of the dead squid has been taken away and will go to
Published: June 20, 2020 - 00:00
Updated: July 22, 2023 - 20:09
The sea has cast ashore a squid weighing over 300 kg!

In Africa, the sea has thrown ashore the body of a giant squid. A photo of the giant cephalopod found on the beach went viral around the world. It is extremely unique to record the existence of such a large specimen. The body of the dead squid has been taken away and will go to a museum after being dissected.

The body of a giant squid measuring around 4 metres long and weighing nearly 320 kg was found on the Golden Mile beach in South Africa. Interestingly, scientists specialising in the study of these unusual, rare and still little understood animals say that the specimen found, despite its huge size, is most likely only 2 years old.

The first people to spot the giant animal on the beach claim that it was still showing signs of life when they reached it.

“It was very sad because I saw it die. It kept pumping ink outside and when I touched one of the tentacles, it wrapped around and sucked my hand. I had to use a bit of force to free myself,” – Richard Davies, one of the hikers who found the animal, told local media.

scientists_prepare_great_squid_for_freezing
Photo Dr Wayne Florence/Iziko Museums of South Africa

Scientists at South Africa’s Iziko Museum have temporarily placed the squid’s body in a freezer, where it will wait until restrictions related to the prevailing pandemic are lifted. Once that happens, the remains of the cephalopod will be transported to their final destination, where they will be carefully examined.

At the moment it is not yet known what caused the animal’s death. Eventually, the body of the giant squid will enter the museum’s collection, where it will become part of the permanent exhibition of the marine biology department at South Africa’s Iziko Museum.

“We’ve only had a handful of such cases in South Africa. Surprisingly, given that our museum is almost 200 years old, our earliest specimen of a giant squid washed ashore dates back to 1972.” – said Wayne Florence, curator of marine invertebrates at the Iziko Museum

Michael Vecchione, an invertebrate zoologist at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History, praises Iziko Museum researchers for their planned squid DNA study. According to him, one of the key questions that has long been asked is how many species of giant squid actually exist? According to one 2013 study, they all belong to the same species.

Adult squid can grow to colossal sizes, the size of a bus, among other things. The creatures also have the largest eyes in the animal kingdom. The specimen found in South Africa and measuring 4 metres long was still quite young, according to experts. Unlike most large animals, squid tend to grow very quickly and only live for about five years.

Source: smithsonianmag.com
Photo: Aeele Grosse/Iziko Museums Of South Africa

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About author

Tomasz Andrukajtis
Editor-in-chief of the DIVERS24 portal and magazine. Responsible for obtaining, translating and developing content. He also supervises all publications. Achived his first diving certification – P1 CMAS, in 2000. Has a degree in journalism and social communication. In the diving industry since 2008.
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