Thawing Jumbo Squid for Research

Feb 18, 2007
I have three Humboldt squid that I need to defrost for my fourth year project. I will be doing stable isotope and DNA analysis and I am going to try testing for enzymes but since it was not kept at -80 I'm not sure if that will work. Each one weights about 15 pounds, maybe a bit more and they are about two and a half feet long (with the tentacles wrapped under them). What is the safest and fastest way to defrost them? Can I put them in a container full of cold water? About how long would it take for it to thaw?

Any help would be greatly appreciated!
At a starting temp of minus 18 degrees Celcius and immersed in cold water it should not take a lot more than three hours, max. Isotonic water?
Just cut a bit of flesh off first, if you're to do the DNA; not sure what enzymes you're looking for, or what defrosting will do to them. I'm with Ob - just place in cold water, and whatever you do, don't try and prise the animal apart when it is only partially defrosted - you'll just snap a limb or three if you do.
I'm particularly interested in the beaks of this thing; PLEASE don't discard! (I'm mad keen on a set, if possible)
The good news is the thaw went very well! We were able to dissect and identify all the parts and get the tissue I need. I have another one to thaw this week, and this time I'll take lots of pictures!

The bad news is I forgot to throw out the bag of squidy water that we thawed her in and left for the weekend, and now the entire lab (and anyone who stands in it for too long) smells of bad squid...

I have the beak in the freezer for you, Steve, how would you like it preserved? Ethanol or dried out?
The Andromola strain.... Out of curiosity, how long did the thawing of the first squid last in total? And did you do total weight?
Would love to see some photo's? Any more beaks available? I could offer Moroteuthis ingens and Nototodarus sloanii beaks in exchange! J
We were able to thaw out our second squid and dissect him today. It took over night to thaw the squid. I'm not sure exactly how long, but I put him in the cooler full of cold water at 4:30pm on Thursday night, and by this morning at 9:00am he was thawed completly but still cold to touch. The other squid was the same way. The first squid, Bellla, was 12 pounds, and the other squid, Ken-Edward, was 14 pounds. Our last squid is 20 pounds, but I'm hoping that he will be able to thaw over night too.

Jean I have a beak in great condition that I would totally trade for a different beak with you! How do you want it preserved? Ethanol or dried out?

The pictures are: the inside of Ken-Edward, the outside of Ken-Edward before we cut him up, me with Bella, and my friend John with Ken-Edward (I'm not entirely sure how I managed to convince him to help me with this, but he also helped me drag these beasts all the way from Tofino BC, to Toronto...normally he works on butterflies).



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Here are a few more pictures: Some of the organs we took out of Bella, Ken-Edward's GI tract and kidneys before I went through it to pick out bits and parasites, and me standing beside the cooler that we thawed them in.



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