Jul 5 2011

Florida Fishermen Catch 25-Foot-Long Giant Squid, Offering Rare Opportunity to Study Elusive Creature

By Alisa Opar

Giant squid are creatures of the deep ocean. So it was quite a surprise when recreational fishermen spotted one floating on the surface some 12 miles off of Florida’s Jensen Beach on Sunday. They hauled the 25-foot-long dying invertebrate on to their 23-foot-long boat. “I thought we definitely need to bring it in, because no one’s going to believe us if we don’t,” said Robert Benz, who was fishing with friends Joey Asaro and Paul Peroulakis. “I didn’t want to leave it out there and just let the sharks eat it.”

University of Florida researcher Roger Portell injects preservative into a 25-foot-long giant squid Monday night. Photo: Jeff Gage, University of Florida/Florida Museum of Natural History

On Monday scientists at the University of Florida’s Florida Museum of Natural History preserved the squid, which died shortly after it was found. John Slapcinsky, the museum’s malacology collection manager, explained that giant squid reproduce just once in their lifetime, and then often become lethargic and die slowly. That’s probably what happened to this animal, as it was discovered barely alive near the surface. The finding offers a rare opportunity to learn more about the elusive creatures, which can grow to be 60 feet long, top 1,000 pounds, and have pigment cells on their white-and-red skin that allow them to rapidly change color, presumably for communication or camouflage.

Read the rest here.

Leave a Reply