Old-New Mesonychoteuthis Specimen?

Great Photo! Let's check against the 2003 specimen, shall we?


At first glance, they don't look the same, provided we have the same view here, dorsal or ventral.

How about the 2007 "smaller" squid?

Again, this depends on whether we're viewing dorsally or ventrally, here's the best shot of that one, without matching abrasion patterns, again.


So, it could well be you've struck gold here, Clem!
RE: abraded mantle, I think it could be either of the known squid, if you allow for further damage to the skin occurring between capture and delivery to the lab. I dunno. It's a tricky angle, optically speaking, for determining size...if that's a work cart on the right, the surface would be about one meter above the deck. Knowing the crew member's boot size would help. Of course, sending a note to hud2 could yield answers.

(Fifteen minutes pass.)

Alright, forum joined, message sent, fingers crossed.

OK, fingers crossed here, as well. I do note that the deck specimen has at least one eye structure left. The 2003 specimen arrived at the lab with both eyes gone.
I just noticed something, OB.

I'm sure there's more than one guy working the Antarctic whilst wearing a blue cold-weather suit with orange sleeves and a comfy hat, but what are the odds of him being photographed with two large colossals?



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Well, I've heard from the person who posted the photo in question, and it is not a specimen I've heard of. My correspondent wrote that it was captured during the 2008-2009 season somewhere in the Southern ocean, at a depth of 1500m near a seamount. It was one of three colossals taken during that season. The pictured Meso was taken with an eye towards giving it to a museum, but I don't yet know if it made it into a collection or not. As cool as the Meso information news is, I should note that a number or other strange squid specimens were taken from the stomachs of patagonian toothfish, in a remarkably complete state of preservation, during the 2008-2009 fishing season. I don't have the clearance to post photos of them, but they don't look as if they've been chewed so much as slurped, and I don't know what they are. Sorry to be all Secret Squirrel* about it, but bycatch like that occupies a largish grey area and I don't want to get anyone in trouble. However, I can't resist reporting that the claws on the pictured Meso's tentacular clubs were apparently between 1" and 2" in length, which would make for a big colossal indeed.


*After O'Shea, most secretive of all squirrels
I've had more correspondence with with the owner of the photo and I can report the following: the mantle was shy of 2m length, the weight was probably not more than 200kg, and the damage to the mantle was caused by the metal sea net used to hoist the Mesonychoteuthis onboard. It was hoped that the specimen could be turned over to Te Papa museum in Wellington, but the capture ship didn't make port-of-call in New Zealand, and the costs of refrigerating and shipping the squid were prohibitively high. Unfortunately, the thing was discarded. Here's another pic of the squid.

My correspondent related that he was not on duty when the capture took place, but that he was present on another occasion when a very large M. hamiltoni was brought to the surface, busily munching on a hooked patagonian toothfish. What makes that incident really unusual, at least within the constraints of my knowledge, is that the squid "got away," releasing the fish and jetting back down with a push from its siphon. If nothing else, this information demonstrates the scientific value of having fisheries observers aboard vessels. Otherwise, we'd never hear about such rarities. Who knows what's being brought up by non-compliant boats?

Big thanks to my correspondent for his time and generosity.



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I'm glad they get away sometimes :cool2: And I'm sure far more specimens are encountered than we ever hear about. I just hope that most of them are left in the water! ... And that the few that are taken on board AND make it back aren't representative of a high number taken on board and later dumped due to space constraints.

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