Some more giant squid photos from AUT

Jun 3, 2004
Hi everyone,

These are some pictures of a giant squid that Steve is curating for public display. We had a lot of 'fun' getting this squid and its container off the ground and into a van this afternoon. Steve has some great pictures of this endeavour; he may post these when he has time...

You will find pictures of this animal fresh, when it arrived here. Just scroll up the page.


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Stitching squid is like stitching butter; it isn't the easiest thing to do. Spent the best part of 10 hours sewing that squid up, and then broke the back (figure z), a chair, very nearly a saw-horse, and bruised the legs like never before getting that thing into a van. We so need a hoist!

Will post pics later (the camera battery dead so cannot download).
Hi Aaron. Yes, that is definitely a giant squid, Architeuthis dux, and a very large and heavy one too. It is destined to go on display, of all places, in a fish shop in Tauranga, New Zealand. They have constructed a special tank for it there. Unfortunately it is a little cramped (and difficult to work on) in the 2m tuna bin in which it currently sits (in the van), but when it goes on display it will be stretched out. This specimen (like so many) lack the tentacles, but I'm sure one day a set will be found for it. Many of the arm tips are gone, and most of the arms had to be re-attached/sewn and mended, but the final frankensquid looks pretty good!

It is an almost fully mature female, and probably (although nobody knows for sure) about 1.5 years old. They don't live much longer (depending on what technique you use to age them they are a maximum of 1.5 years, 3 years or ~ 13 years beforethey reach maturity); if I had used one of those techniques this specimen would have been placed at ~ 1.5 years.
Here are a few before and after pics, as the animal is repaired. I still have a little to do, but am too beat right now to consider it.

As you'll have noted from the earlier pics (when we received it; see link in Matt's first post), it was a little bent, there was a rope around it (and yes, this has left impressions), and the arms looked quite stumpy; I'll repost that pic later).

The squid was in a tub of water, soaking the formalin out (nice smell to be over for 10 hrs), and periodically I would raise the water level, or empty it depending on what I was trying to do, or get access to.

Here's the stitching effort, eye, mantle and fin.


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A few other pics; there were pieces of arm everywhere - now each has a home somewhere on the animal. It was a real puzzle .... and I stuffed up one of them (suckers going big, small, then big again). Those are 'spare bits' about half-way through the day that lie atop the mantle; the lower ... whew, all spare bits accounted for and reattached.


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The next step was to get said squid into vehicle. This is something I don't want to repeat in any great hurry. There are two of us there, although one of us is behind the camera (it looks like Matt did all the work!).

Between photos there was much cursing and profanity!! This was not an easy exercise! (The chair holding one end of the tank up simply collapsed, and 200kg worth of squid and 75kg worth of tank came crashing down VERY quickly!!).

Moral of the story .... don't try and shift a squid with a chair!

The saw-horse was quite a sore horse at the end of this, having become trapped beneath and itself falling over.

Don't ask how we got that squid and tank up onto a saw-horse and chair in the first instance! That was a feat!


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But as all stories should end, this one ended happily, and the squid, tank and stuff was put to bed for the evening in the back of the van.

The yard returned to normal, and we all went home to partake in a :wine:


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As an aside, don't open the lid of that 3m stainless steel tank! The smell in there can be described only as 'not right'! Therein lies the sunfish skeleton, slowly breaking down with the help of some extremophile organisms. I'm in no hurry to reopen it!

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