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Colossal Calamari

Colossal_squid.jpg New Zealand officials announced last week that fishermen had snagged a colossal squid from Antarctica's Ross Sea.

The first confirmed live sighting of a colossal squid occurred only as far back as 2003, when fishermen also in the Ross Sea caught one of these behemoths. Scientists dubbed their catch "colossal squid" (Mesonychoteuthis hamiltoni).

Colossal squids may possibly grow up to 40 feet in length (including the tentacles). Though giant squids (Architeuthis dux) are believed to reach 35 feet long on average, it's thought that they don't weigh as much as colossals.

This latest specimen--probably only the third intact one to be recovered--weighs about 990 pounds, or nearly half a ton. Scientists still don't know much about this species. The inaccessible nature of their deep-sea habitat makes studying them, as well as giant squids, difficult.

According to one squid expert, the colossal squid "would yield calamari rings the size of tractor tires," though apparently it wouldn't taste very good.

Link: "Photo in the News: Colossal Squid Caught Off Antarctica" (National Geographic News)

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