Gigantic Squid Emerges on Spanish Beach, Eliciting Fears and Fascination
An enormous squid made its appearance on La Arena Beach in the Spanish municipality of Cantabria on Tuesday (Oct. 1), flaunting oversized eyes and a massive, blob-like body that renders it more legendary than a genuine beast.
The creature, a specimen of Architeuthis dux, the largest invertebrate on Earth, measuring a whopping 30 feet (9 meters) in length and weighing a staggering 400 pounds (180 kilograms), has caused quite a stir among locals and press sources.
Currently, the enormous squid is being showcased at the Maritime Museum of Cantabria. Coincidentally, an underwater photographer happened to be in the region precisely when the squid washed ashore.
“I felt honored to be among a few; these animals are rarely observed because they dwell at tremendous depths and very few emerge on the coast dead,” Enrique Toledo explained in an email to LiveScience. “It has the aspect of a marine monster, well-adapted to living in the deep.”
In 2012, Tsunemi Kubodera, a biologist at Japan’s National Science Museum in Tokyo, and his colleagues obtained the first live video of an Architeuthis giant squid in its native habitat. The elusive species was spotted near the Ogasawara Islands, around 620 miles (1,000 kilometers) south of Tokyo, at a depth of roughly 2,066 feet (630 meters); a three-man crew aboard a submersible pursued the enormous squid down to 2,950 feet (900 meters).
According to the University of Michigan’s Museum of Zoology, the giant squid not only boasts the largest eyes in the animal kingdom but may be as large as a human head. These massive peepers likely assist the squid in seeing in the deep waters, where there is little light. Although little is known about where these squid dwell, experts believe they inhabit colder waters due to their blood’s poor oxygen-carrying ability at higher temperatures.
Architeuthis, akin to other cephalopods such as squid, octopuses, cuttlefish, and their cousins, is assumed to possess a large nervous system and a sophisticated brain.
The deep-sea behemoth is said to have inspired the Norse legend of the Kraken and even the Greek mythology’s Scylla, a sea monster said to inhabit a narrow channel of water opposite its monstrous counterpart Charybdis.