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18 Massive Creatures of the Sea

Giant Squid | Image: Tsunemi Kubodera of the National Science Museum of Japan/AP

The article linked below features the largest creatures in the ocean as well as some of the most massive creatures of their type. The giant squid, shown above, is the second largest cephalopod in existence, growing to a size of 33-43 feet long. The giant squid was once thought to be the largest cephalopod, until the colossal squid, with a length of 46 feet and a larger mass, was discovered. Both are deep-sea dwellers that exhibit deep-sea gigantism, which is the predisposition of deep-sea species to grow much larger than those inhabiting shallower waters.

Colossal Squid | Image: www.fish.govt.nz

 Each of the eight arms and two tentacles of the giant squid is lined with two-inch in diameter suction cups. The surfaces of the suction cups have rings of serrated teeth, which attach to the squid's prey. It is not uncommon to see circular puncture scars from these teeth on the skin of sperm whales that have attacked the squid in vain.

The giant squid and colossal squid have the largest eyes of any known living creature. The giant squid's eyes are 11 inches in diameter, with pupils up to four inches wide. 

Colossal Squid Eye

The creature in the photo below is a giant isopod, specifically a Bathynomus giganteus, which is approximately 30 inches in length. Another deep-sea dweller exhibiting gigantism, it is the largest isopod in existence. The species is related to the pill bug and woodlouse, as well as to shrimp and crabs.

The carnivorous creature feeds on dead whales, squid and other fish; essentially whatever comes along in the dearth of deep-sea food options. The giant isopod will gorge itself when it does encounter food, so much so that it can be temporarily immobilized. Astoundingly, due to the lack of food in its deep-sea habitat, the giant isopod is so accustomed to famine that in captivity, it has been known to survive five years without eating! 

See sixteen other massive sea creatures here.  


Giant Isopod | Image: wikipedia.org


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