The World's Largest Invertebrate
This is the species commonly known as the giant squid. Because
scientists do not know exactly where in the sea it lives, they have not
been able to study it alive.
How big does it get?
- Up to 18 m (59 ft)
- Up to 900 kg (1,980 lb, nearly 1 ton)
Look at the diver above
and compare with the illustration of Architeuthis
to see how enormous that is. And
scientists probably haven't found
the largest specimen!
Where does it live?
Dots on the map indicate where
specimens have been caught or
found stranded. Scientists
suspect giant squid live mostly at
depths of 200-700 m (660-2,300 ft).
Where did this specimen come from?
Washed ashore on Plum Island,
Massachusetts, in 1980, it is only
the third giant squid found
stranded on U.S. shores.
Total length of specimen: 2.7 m (9 ft)
Weight: 200 kg (440 lb)
Missing parts: long feeding
tentacles and maroon-colored skin.
They were lost when the squid
Estimated length with feeding tentacles: 9 m (30 ft)
What does it eat?
Mainly fishes and other squids,
based on scientific analysis of
the stomach contents of two giant
Can you find these parts on the
specimen in the tank?
Head: houses a complex brain.
Eyes: largest in the animal kingdom. They can grow to 25 cm (10 in.) in diameter--about the size of a volleyball.
Fins: relatively small in this
species. They help balance and
maneuver the huge animal as it
Mantle: the main body. This
muscular sac contains most of the
Arms (8): studded with two rows of suckers.
Feeding tentacles (2): missing in
Funnel: a multipurpose tube used
in breathing, jetting, squirting
ink, laying eggs, and expelling
Ocean Planet Exhibition
Smithsonian Giant Squid Overview Page
gene carl feldman / email@example.com