Giant Squid Duet
    By Danna Staaf | August 25th 2011 01:27 AM | 10 comments | Print | E-mail | Track Comments
    About Danna

    Cephalopods have been rocking my world since I was in grade school. I pursued them through a BA in marine biology at the University of California...

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    A couple of dead giant squid have turned up--almost exactly on opposite sides of the globe! Surely this is some kind of portent?

    Architeuthis #1 was spotted off the coast of Tenerife, in the Canary Islands:
    "The animal was in good general condition although some of the tentacles and the eyes were missing. It also showed its original pigmentation," said Rafa Herrero, a documentary maker, to EFE agency.
    Architeuthis #2 washed ashore on Farewell Spit, on the south island of New Zealand:
    Paddy Gillooly, of Farewell Spit Tours, said visitors were thrilled to spot the deep-sea creature, which is the biggest invertebrate. ''We got a real buzz. It's the first one we've seen on the spit in three years,'' said Mr Gillooly from the Farewell Spit lighthouse this morning.
    I've never been to the Canary Islands (though I have been to other parts of Spain) but I've totally stood on Farewell Spit, which somehow makes it 200% more awesome to think of a giant squid washing ashore there.

    Me + kiwi in-laws. No giant squid, but Farewell Spit is still pretty cool.

    Hat tip to Deep-Sea News for the NZ find!

    Oh, in unrelated news, I did a guest post for my friends' awesome blog Science Fare. It's full of chocolate chip cookies and totally devoid of squid, but you should go check it out anyway.


    Giant squid appearing simultaneously on opposite sides of the globe?

    Are you sure this isn’t a case of squid-antisquid pair production?
    Robert H. Olley / Quondam Physics Department / University of Reading / England
    Danna Staaf
    Hee! That's much better than my lame portent joke. =)

    Also dig the map.
    We Brits tend to regard New Zealand as the antipodes, but in preparing some mathematical history lectures I worked out that NZ and Spain are opposite each other.  So I was not surprised when you mentioned las Canarias.

    I just now remembered this map that I prepared for those lectures.

    Not only does it illustrate how much of our globe is covered in ocean, but how little landmass is antipodeal to other landmass.

    Source of the two original projections (as I remember) is, a Brazilian website.  One takes the two hemispheres, and then flips one as a mirror image before superposing it on the other.


    Robert H. Olley / Quondam Physics Department / University of Reading / England
    Quentin Rowe
    Hi Robert,

    After seeing  'The China Syndrome' movie, set in the USA, I was always puzzled by the myth of the title. Any thoughts on where the 'China Syndrome' myth originated?

    The story goes, that in the event of a runaway nuclear reactor meltdown, the core will melt all the way through the earth until it finally reaches China. But China is the antipodes of Chile, or thereabouts, where as the antipodes of the USA is the south Indian ocean.

    Chile has never had nuclear power, but is just considering it now. So watch out China!

    I like the map... it is fascinating, the lack of antipodal land mass, and the sheer immensity of our oceans.

    Quentin Rowe
    Hi Danna,

    I just flew over Nelson two days ago in a low, slow plane. I got fantastic views over Golden bay to Fairwell Spit. Fantastic! I didn't see the squid, though... I thought they were Giant? ;-)

    As I was flying from Hamilton to Christchurch, also got fantastic views of all three North Is. volcanic cones. Oh, and clear views all the way to Able Tasman park, Tasman sea, and Mt Aoraki way down south. All covered in fresh pristine snow. Just beautiful. If you aren't jealous, you should be... ;-)

    Danna Staaf
    Hi Quentin! Man oh man, that sounds gorgeous.

    Of course, giant squid are giant, but all squid are camouflage experts! How could you expect to see it from a plane? ;)
    Quentin Rowe
    Giant they may be...  of course, I'm sure that at my height&distance it barely registered a pixel on my camera or retina.

    I enjoy your posts... enthusiastic & informative. Prior to joining Science2.0, I've paid little attention to squid, apart from using them as fish bait.

    Thanks for your sharing.
    Danna Staaf
    Thanks so much for the kind words! 
    I’m just wondering which great operatic duet the squid should be singing.

    "Là ci darem la mano" ("There we’ll be hand in hand") jumps to mind, but it could be a bit confusing / spectacular in the case of cephalopods.
    Robert H. Olley / Quondam Physics Department / University of Reading / England
    Danna Staaf
    I don't know Italian but maybe a slight modification to "La vi darem la mano e mano e mano e mano e mano e mano e mano e mano"?