Possible Mesonychoteuthis sucker marks on an antarctic sleeper shark


Apr 10, 2006
I was looking for photos of antarctic sleeper sharks (Somniosus antarcticus) because I am preparing a talk about Architeuthis I´ll do at the end of the month. There are only quite few photos online of this species, especially of large specimens. As you know, beaks of Architeuthis and Mesonychoteuthis were found in the stomaches of this sharks, but it was not sure if they actively hunted them or just scavenged dead or dying specimens. I found at fishbase a quite interesting photo of an antarctic sleeper shark of 180 cm caught off the Falkland Islands as by-catch of Pataginian toothfish, which has some clear and comparably big sucker marks and a lot of scratches. Could it be possible that this are sucker marks of Mesonychoteuthis? I think this is really rather interesting, because it shows there actually is interaction between antarctic sleeper sharks and big squids.

You can see the photos here in high resolution:

And the original page at fishbase with additional information:
Here is a detail shot of the photo on which I made a circle around a particularly big sucker mark. The pattern of the sucker marks on the left could also fit with the sucker pattern of Mesonychoteuthis, as would the location and the association with Patagonian toothfish.


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This is the Pacific sleeper shark from Alaska from the last link I posted. Of course this sucker marks does not come from Mesonychoteuthis, but could they possibly come from Architeuthis? Of course this sharks could also feed on giant pacific octopi, but I doubt that their soft suckers could cause such sucker marks on a shark´s skin.


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Darn, I remember reading an article recently (will look more in a sec) but can't find it. The general gist of what I remember was that it was thought each prey upon the other depending upon relative sizes but it was unclear if the larger sharks scavenged.

Here are a collection of articles, sightings, etc on Archi that may have added input for your talk.

Here are two summaries of the same study about toothfish predation (hopefully one will lead you to the actual study if of interest) but not sharks. It may be the articles I was remembering.

Found the article I was thinking about here, New Giant Squid Predator Found (BBC) 2004 (added to the collection mentioned above). Talks about sleeper sharks

This article in NatGeo might also be of interest.
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Thanks for the links! I´ve seen the toothfish articles too, as well as the interaction between mako sharks and Dosidicus gigas.
Thank you again for the links! I had already read the one about the sleeper sharks at the time when it was published, and it´s really interesting to have now a real indication of aggressive interactions between the two species. Of course the article doesn´t take into account that large sleeper sharks are in fact even bigger than even a large Architeuthis or even Mesonychoteuthis in terms of weight.
I wanted to include many of the lesser known facts about Architeuthis (and Mesonychoteuthis as well) in my talk and wanted to focus especially on the many common misbelieves you can still found today in the media, like exaggerated size for example, or the interaction with other predators besides the sperm whale.
I added a collage of known prey species of Architeuthis (including Archi himself to illustrate the cannibalism) I made for the talk. It was a lot of work to look for all the fitting photos. I didn´t know the species of rat-tails, so I had to use some random species. In this case the common names are in German, but I also added the scientific names.


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Yes, but it´s still good timing, so I can add some very new stuff to my talk.
I find the interactions between large squids and fish like patagonian toothfish, certain sharks and other fish like swordfish really quite interesting. This are probably much more real confrontations than the more mythical "fights" between giant squids and sperm whales. I also realized that it is really quite hard to find photos of Architeuthis sucker marks in sperm whales. After all, they doesn´t even seem that common. I have also a really large number of sperm whale photos in my archive (I use them for example for details on models or also for reconstruction issues of prehistoric sperm whales, but only a very small numbers shows really clear scars from squid suckers.
Those photo's are all really cool! It would be difficult to determine if those scars were made by a mesy or an archi (I'm personally not sure how far south Architeuthis is found). But yes, definitely the result of a struggle between the shark and a very large (VERY alive) squid!

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