Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Giant Squid!

Hi Sea Fans!

Heidi often visits schools and chats to you guys.  A little while ago, one of the kids asked her about Giant Squid so I've decided to tell you a bit more about them because not everyone believes that there are Giant Squid out there!

To show you some proof, go to the National Geographic website links below and you' ll see some amazing photos.

First photos taken of live Giant Squid:

Giant Squid captured and filmed for the first time:


Once you've seen the photos and are convinced that there ARE actually Giant Squid in the oceans, read on...

These animals are spread worldwide, but the animals that man has found are mostly stranded in the North Atlantic (Norway and Newfoundland), or caught in the South Atlantic (South Africa), Southwest Pacific (New Zealand, Southern Australia) and the Northwest Pacific (Japan). 

Yes, you've seen this map on my blog before but this time I want you to find where the different oceans are so that you can see where the Giant Squid has been found.
Giant Squids are vertical wanderers, this means that they travel up and down in different depth zones. Adults (mantle length up to 4 metres) are believed to spend most of their time at depths of between 200 - 1000m. Juveniles probably stay between 100 - 300m, and young Giant Squids are usually caught near the surface. One little guy (10.3 mm) was caught at a depth of only 20 meters!  

Giant squids do not have any gas spaces in their bodies, which means they don't have soft bladders filled with gas to keep them from sinking like the fish's swim bladder. In fact, no squids do, and neither do really deep sea fishes. The high pressures down in the deep sea is too much for a bladder, it would pop (implode) because air compresses (squashes) easily.  How then is the giant squid able to survive in very deep waters without sinking or being crushed? The answer is ammonium ions. (Ammonia in water splits into ammonium and other ions.)   Ammonia is a natural waste product, like urine. Instead of getting rid of waste out of the body like humans go to the toilet, giant squids store some of the waste in their bodies. (This is why giant squids are not very tasty to eat!) Liquids can't be crushed or squashed like air and ammonium is lighter than seawater - therefor, no sinking squid!

So I hope this clears a few things up for those of you who didn't believe in the Giant Squid and I hope you found some of this interesting - I did! 

Have a great week Sea Fans!
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PS. Squid are good fun to dissect so if you get a chance, ask mom to buy a whole one from the shop when she wants to make calamari and have a good look inside before she cooks it.  The beak is the most fun to find!

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