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Rafa González.- Efeverde. – Check if it moves fast or slow, if it is a sociable or solitary animal, if it is an endangered species or what is its life cycle are some of the enigmas that surround the giant squid : a species that does not get rid of its bad reputation.
The ‘ Architeuthis dux’ or giant squid has a “fairly developed” eye, similar to that of humans, with a “very large” size, although it lives in deep marine areas, between 400 and 1,000 meters, where there is no light , has explained to Efe the researcher of the Museum of Natural Sciences (MNCN-CSIC), Óscar Soriano.
This cephalopod has a “very particular” hemoglobin, which would suggest that it moves slowly, although fish that swim at high speed have been found inside its stomach, which would indicate that “it moves fast to catch them”, has assured.
“We do not know if it is a species in danger of extinction, ” lamented the scientist, who notes that there are times when diseased or dying specimens emerge to the surface, possibly affected, like other cephalopods, by “certain explosions”. marinas “.
The ignorance of the giant squid, a cosmopolitan species present in all the seas of the planet, lies in the difficulty of filming it alive, because it can only be studied when “it appears floating on the surface, practically dead or in poor physical condition”.
Although up to 21 species of ‘Architeuthis dux’ have been described, the most accepted hypothesis, according to Soriano, is that they all constitute the same variety, but to prove it with certainty it would be necessary to “sequence a DNA sample and observe possible differences between the specimens” .
“Everything suggests that it is a solitary animal, ” said the researcher, because, although it is usually grouped in banks during copulation, it has been observed that “many males had spermatophores”, a kind of capsule with sperm, “Injected as if they were females”.
This fact seems to indicate to the scientists that it is not an ‘extroverted’ animal, or that there has been a ‘loving’ encounter between two males, a fight or, when not distinguishing well the sex, the giant squid has deposited the reproductive capsule on another male or about himself.
The life cycle of this unique cephalopod, whose feeding is based, mainly, on the intake of blue whiting, also constitutes an enigma, although “it has one of the fastest growth rates in animals”.
2 meters and 275 kilograms
Its body can reach more than two meters and its weight 275 kilograms, and as in the cephalopods, the head has ten appendages that surround the mouth: eight arms and two tentacles, which serve to catch their prey, and can extend up to 20 meters.
The giant squid, like other marine invertebrates, is chromatophore, a peculiarity that allows it to change color to blend in with the environment when a predator approaches or becomes aware of a situation that entails danger.
This cephalopod, reddish in appearance, is not edible: “it has an excretory system that produces ammonia” , which causes “a peculiar unpleasant smell when you spend a lot of time near it”.
His bad reputation is associated with Norwegian legends, where he talks about monsters capable of sinking ships and eating his entire crew, and today “we know that these stories are based on sightings of giant squid,” he recalled this expert, who concludes that he lives “surrounded by a halo of mystery”.