Rangitoto Island and a Giant Squid
Last Sunday I had a field trip on Rangitoto Island for my NZ Ecology & Conservation class. The purpose of the trip was to test a hypothesis about the plants on the island. What I managed to take home with me was being able to identify about 11 plants by their Latin name. We walked across the very unstable A'a lava to measure out plots and then record which species were present in each plot.
Yesterday I got to see a plasticized giant squid (Architeuthis dux), since I mooch off of Becca to see all the cool stuff that Masters students get to gaze upon. It was a real squid, however, not alive. It was injected with plastic by the guy who did the Body World exhibit. He practiced on little squid before working on the giant squid. Supposedly, the squid was caught back in 2002!
Giant squid have the largest eyes in the animal kingdom. They need to be big since they live so deep and need to detect the small amounts of light.
Some tales of the giant squid: [http://www.marinebio.org/species.asp?id=156]
"In 1965, a Soviet whaler watched a battle between a squid and a 40 ton sperm whale. In the case of this battle, neither was victorious. The strangled whale was found floating in the sea with the squid's tentacles wrapped around the whale's throat. The squid's severed head was found in the whale's stomach.
In the 1930's a ship owned by the royal Norwegian Navy called the Brunswick was attacked at least three times by the giant squid. In each case the attack was deliberate as the squid would pull along side of the ship, pace it, then suddenly turn, run into the ship and wrap its tentacles around the hull. The encounters were fatal for the squid as its grip on the ship's steel surface would come loose, and the animal slid off and fell into the ship's propellers."