Architeuthis again (never a dull moment in New Zealand)

Steve O'Shea

TONMO Supporter
Staff member
Nov 19, 2002
Tintenfisch and I are actually in Wellington right now, giving talks at the National Museum of New Zealand (they have the colossal squid on public display for a week).

After our talk yesterday we went back into the freezers (as you do) and pulled out a ~15kg lump. It proved to be another Architeuthis, but a real small one, caught mid-May off southernmost New Zealand (very late in the summer to be collecting these, and very far south). It is only the second specimen to be caught this summer (it has been a rather strange year).

We'll have a detailed look at it this morning (and a few other exciting bits and pieces) and then go off to talk about the colossal, smelling REAL BAD (we didn't smell pretty at dinner last evening either; I think we'd both sooner work on Mesonychoteuthis :roll: - it doesn't smell). Will post more details here soon.
Cool -- when you say mid-May, I guess you mean 2002? And you mentioned late summer... sorry, my center of the universe is Pennyslvania... is it late in the summer where you are? I'm not sure I know how these things work... :?
Ooops. No, the specimen was caught just over a month ago but has only just made its way to the museum.

It isn't very summery in Wellington today I might add (we need a 'freezing' emoticon).

Just off to look at it now
From what I understand Messie has no ammonia in the tissues. That's not to say it won't smell bad if you leave it lying around for a week :mrgreen:

Speaking of which we just had a Sunfish wash ashore in the harbour today, way cool fish, but it is starting to smell a little shall we say....ripe!

....Ooooops, forgot to follow up with the details for that squid.

It proved to be incomplete, a mantle only (with length written in a book that I cannot locate at present - ~ 1.2m) and male (mature); its incomplete nature accounts for the small size/weight of the bag (~ 30kg). It was taken very far south (~ 50°S) around the Auckland Islands this past austral summer (Feb/March), southernmost New Zealand (not to be confused with sunny Auckland where we are based).

When I track the details down I'll post something; it was only the second specimen to be caught (that I know of) this summer ..... not a big summer for these brutes this year. The reason why I remembered this morning was that I had a dream last night ...... two massive females were dropped off to me in the office. I don't think they'd appreciate that at work ... defrosting squid and squid goo oozing down 5 floors.
any chance of some jpegs???? sorry about the cold...hotter than hades here today!
I've attached a pic of a giant squid that has only recently (this past week) gone on display at the National Aquarium of New Zealand, in Napier. This is the only specimen on display in New Zealand, and it is absolutely gorgeous (as far as these things go). We only sent it to them a few months ago, so they've done a superb job in a very short period of time. Thanks to everyone there for getting this specimen on display!

The preservative level is a little low, and the preservative itself a little cloudy, but this is early in the piece (there's a lot to do yet). Shortly it will be topped up.

Excellent job everyone!


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Here's another pic, with Kerry Hewitt (also a TONMO member and squid and octopus convert, of the National Aquarium) - the chap instrumental in obtaining the squid for the National Aquarium, and getting it on display.

Anyone visiting New Zealand MUST make it down to the National Aquarium in Napier; it is a most fantastic place, and the people there are simply wonderful to work with. We'll be working with them in the lead up to several expeditions planned for 2004.


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Just found this. The original article came out with an additional, stunning pic of Kat and me against an aquarium backdrop; not in the online article I'm afraid.

.... never a dull moment in New Zealand

Over the past 7 days we've given 7 separate talks; the coming week we'll be giving far more, the following week we are in Hobart looking at some sensational beasts.

It'd be nice to be able to sit down
What a great display! we down here at Portobello are totally jealous...well at least Kerry & I are :mrgreen:

Hey Steve & Kat when you're in Hobart say Hi to George and Belinda for me (Natalie too if she comes down from Launceston!) I'm sure you'll be seeing them! Aw heck say hi to everyone cephy!!!

Tintenfisch and I are fresh back from a secret location, having examined a most stunning, fresh Architeuthis caught ~ 5 days ago. I'd never seen a fresh one (as in one that had not been frozen first), and I was amazed at the difference! .... and we learnt lots of exciting stuff!

One thing is for sure. The theory that this animal migrates into NZ waters to breed is pretty solid.

Sleepy time
Steve & Kat,


Once again, congratulations on finding yourself at the end of the big teuthid conveyor belt.

Male or female? Eye(s) intact? Offshore or inshore?

Yours truly,
Female, eyes pretty intact, in good condition (missing tentacles and fins), kept on ice for us by an obliging hoki boat, and to say she was mature would be the understatement of the century.


Oh... and let me just say, to those who have never been in a position to try single-handedly preventing 200kg of squid from slipping to the floor, off three rolling tables whose wheels are not locked, causing them to gradually separate as you realize the inevitable and can only watch in horror, knowing the floor is too slippery to give you the purchase you would need to escape the area in time, and in a single pre-impact lucid thought thanking whatever deities you admire that the camera crew has just left, then feebly covering your face in a futile attempt to keep the splattering slime out of your facial orifices... you're missing out. And the horror movie industry also missed out on recording the sound effect of a lifetime.

Not that I speak from experience.

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