The giant squid found in the south of Tenerife island. (Photo: YouTube/antena3canarias)
Giant squid in Tenerife waters
Wednesday, August 24, 2011, 16:30 (GMT + 9)
The remains of a giant squid, possibly about 8 metres long, were spotted floating about two miles from the coast south of Tenerife island in the Canary Islands.
The discovery was made by a film crew from the company Aquawork, who was preparing a documentary about the cetaceans’ colony in these waters.
The specimen of the genus Architheuthis was found last month in front of Los Gigantes cliff.
"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.
According to Ángel Gerrea, professor of the Higher Council for Scientific Research (CSIC) and one of the leading specialists in cephalopods in the world, "it is possibly an adult female, which could be about 8 metres long with intact tentacles."
Herrero added that "a female Architheuthis can measure two and a half metres in the mantle, which would be about 18 to 20 metres in total length. The eyes are the largest in the animal kingdom, like a handball."
The filming crew spotted several shearwaters flying over the open ocean, an indicator that there are dolphins, mackerel or any other specimen floating in the water, and when the researchers approached, they found an unexpected giant squid.
The documentary makers took samples of the squid’s suckers and peak to send them to the Association for the Study of Cetaceans in the Canary Islands (SECAC).
The water depth in the area of Los Gigantes, where the odd specimen appeared, varies between 800 and 1,200 metres. These depths allow tropical pilot whales to go down continuously in search of food, as there are many marine species, especially cephalopods.
The first record of a similar finding dates back to 30 November, 1861, which also occurred in Tenerife waters. This marked the first encounter between the mythical animal and human beings.
However, so far all attempts to sight a live giant squid have failed, despite the repeated expeditions undertaken in the Canary Islands, Cantabria and New Zealand.
By Silvina Corniola