February 4, 2011
May 29, 2010
Bringing things back to our own temporal stomping grounds, the Holocene (aka, Now), here are two news stories that serve as nice addenda to a couple of recent posts.
First, we have some new research about the metabolism of Mesonychoteuthis hamiltoni, Sensational Squid #2;
Summary: A study published in the Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom finds that M. hamiltoni is not a ferocious hunter as often imagined, but rather a slow, passive ambush predator. The researchers measured the metabolic rates of smaller cold water squid species and scaled up the results to account for the size of the Colossal Squid. Their analysis indicates that the Colossal Squid has a very low metabolic rate, low energy requirements, and moves very slowly. The study team estimates that a single 11 pound fish can sustain a 1,100 pound squid for 200 days.
The next story is directly related to last week’s Argonaut video;
Summary: In a study published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, biologists Julian Finn and Mark Norman (both of Museum Victoria, Melbourne, Australia) have found that female Argonauts use air bubbles trapped in their shell-like egg cases to control their buoyancy. When wild Argonauts lost the air bubble, they were observed quickly swimming to the surface to take in more air. They positioned their bodies within their cases to create an air-tight seal and then descended to a depth where the water pressure compressed the trapped air enough to achieve neutral buoyancy.
May 11, 2010
So, waaaaay back in January I started this series to count down the ten types of squid I find most fascinating (in no particular order, more or less). I’m not exactly sure why I lost momentum so tremendously, but I figure it’s finally time to wrap things up. If you’ve been following along, I’m sure it will come as little surprise which species made the top two spots. (If you missed them, follow the Ten Sensational Squids tag for entries 10-3.)
2. Mesonychoteuthis hamiltoni (Colossal Squid)
This is it, the longest and heaviest known squid. In fact, M. hamiltoni is the largest living Invertebrate. Well, probably.
First identified in 1925 from remains found in the stomachs of Sperm Whales, the Colossal Squid lives only in Antarctic waters. The largest known specimen to date (even bigger than the one pictured above with teuthologist Steve O’Shea) was captured by a New Zealand fishing boat in 2007 and measured an estimated 10 m (~33 ft) in total length and weighed 495 kg (~1,091 lb). It is currently on display at the Musem of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa.
Most known Colossal Squid specimens are of immature individuals, but extrapolating from the sizes of beaks recovered from whales, scientists have estimated that adults can attain a total body length of up to 14 m (~46 ft)! Mesonychoteuthis also possesses the largest eyes of any animal, over a foot across—even though that record is still commonly awarded to the slightly smaller, but more famous, Giant Squid (Architeuthis dux). Compared to the Giant Squid, the Colossal Squid has shorter arms and tentacles, but possesses a mantle that is both longer and more robust—as much as 4m (~13 ft) long. Another notable difference between these two species is that the arms and tentacle clubs of M. hamiltoni sport vicious-looking hooks instead of suckers, a distinction that is nicely illustrated in this display at London’s Darwin Centre.
M. hamiltoni, which is the only known species of the genus Mesonychoteuthis, is Cranchiid squid, which makes it closely related to the wee Piglet Squid we encountered earlier in the countdown.
For more on the Colossal Squid, check out this slideshow by Tonmo.com which collects a lot of cool images and facts about this rarely seen giant.
March 9, 2010
Timothy McSweeney’s Internet Concern is the cyber-arm of Dave Eggers’ hipster publishing empire. If you need one reason to pay this site a visit, that reason would be Notes on “Sweet Child O’ Mine” as delivered to Axl Rose by his editor. If you need a second reason, I reckon that would be this shirt here.
“Squid T-shirt” features the two largest living invertebrates: Mesonychoteuthis hamiltoni (aka the Colossal Squid) and Architeuthis dux (aka the Giant Squid). While it is true that the Colossal Squid edges out the Giant Squid in both mass and length, “Mr. McSweeney” has perhaps misrepresented this size difference just a tad.
This American Apparel shirt is $22.00 and comes in men’s and women’s sizes. Be warned, however, these sizes run small. I have a men’s large, and, despite losing about 30 lbs in the past year, it still doesn’t quite look flattering on me (which is why I didn’t post a photo of myself wearing the shirt). That being said, you should still…