clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Giant squid are 7 times as large as a human

Need something new to be afraid of? Compared to some of the monstrous squids out there in the ocean, you are tiny:

Giant squid

(Image by Cameron McCormick from The Lord Geekington blog)

From left to right, we have: Colossal squid, giant squid, Humboldt squid, Dana octopus squid, Onykia robusta, bigfin squid, longarm octopus squid, cockatoo squid, Megalocranchia, and Asperoteuthis acanthoderma. And they're all massive.

The colossal squid, on the far left, is thought to grow up to 40 feet long (although the largest squid ever spotted was just 30 feet long). As for the giant squid, second from the left, scientists have recorded a specimen that's 43 feet long. And that squid all the way on the right? That's Asperoteuthis acanthoderma. It might not be as menacing looking, but a paper published on a specimen in the 1990s noted that its tentacles were 12 times as long as its body.

Because some species, like the colossal and giant squid, live so far down in the water, they've historically only been found in the bellies of whales. But in recent decades, fishermen and scientists have both seen more species in the wild and collected more specimens.

For more on all of these squids, check out Cameron McCormick's blog post that goes into detail about each of them. He's the one who created the image above.

Hat tips to @echinoblog and @DrEmmaLJohnston.

Further reading

Watch scientists dissect an incredibly rare colossal squid on camera. (This story includes a brief history of the colossal squid, too.)

If you want to know even more, the Tree of Life web project has some great pages on various species, with lots of pictures, like this one about Asperoteuthis acanthoderma.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for Vox Recommends

Get curated picks of the best Vox journalism to read, watch, and listen to every week, from our editors.