Monsters of the deep sea

Sea monsters don't only exist in fairytales. A giant squid was found dead on the shore of the Australian island of Tasmania. The creature was very large, and its size became a challenge to traditional theories, which said that such large squids could not even exist. There is a very curious coincidence. Large squids are found on that site of the beach on July 19-20. The first animal was found on July 19, 1986. The second one was found on July 20, 1991, and the latest squid appeared exactly eleven years later, on July 20, 2002. Tasmanian Museum zoologist David Pemberton said the discovery is very intriguing. The giant squid was a female, she managed to spawn, and other giant squid fertilized her eggs, since there was sperm found under the skin of the head of the dead squid.

Doctor Pemberton said that there were bite marks on the neck of the animal. Such marks are the vestige of courtship among squids. The animal weighs 250 kilos, and it would have been 15-18 meters long, if it had the two tentacles that it had lost somewhere.

The squid was apparently found shortly before its death, after a day or two. Squids probably die during spawning in shallow water, as they are often washed ashore.

It is traditionally believed that giant squids are deep water animals, and some of them live very deep, up to three kilometers. However, Tasmanian squids live closer to the water surface, so fishermen’s tales about giant sea monsters might not be tales at all.

Squids grow and develop very quckly, and small squids usually live for two years. They always spawn around the same time, and then they perish a year after reproduction.

However, giant squids live up to three or four years. This giant squid had an unusual number of keels: flaps of muscles attached to its tentacles. New Zealand scientists say that a giant squid usually has one or two keels, but the dead squid found on the Tasmania beach had keels on all of its tentacles.

Translated by Dmitry Sudakov

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