Sometimes it is too easy to forget how alien of a world the ocean is to us on land but three divers on a New Zealand beach were quickly reminded of the beauty of the ocean below.
As first reported by the New Zealand Herald, the trio of brothers came across the remarkable discovery when they were driving along the islands southern coastline looking for a spot to dive when they spotted the squid washed-up near Redo Rocks Reserve.
“My brother said ‘what’s that over there?’ and pointed it out,” Daniel Aplin, a member of Ocean Hunter Spearfishing and Freediving Specialists, on whose Facebook page he posted the photos, told the Herald. “It was right next to the track so we pulled over and we were like: ‘It’s a big squid'”.
“After we went for a dive we went back to it and got a tape measure out and it measured 4.2 meters [14 feet] long,” he continued.
“It was pretty clean, nothing major on it. There was a scratch on the top of its head but smaller than a lighter, tiny, wouldn’t think that’s what killed it,” he said.
A spokesman from the New Zealand Department of Conservation told the newspaper that the trio had likely encountered the corpse of the species giant squid rather than the colossal squid. The giant squid is believed to reach slightly lower total lengths than colossal (43 feet vs 46 feet) although the giant squids two long tentacles and eight legs are longer.
Up till recently, giant squid were believed by some to be a mythical species as the only evidence of the animal was from partial remains. Thankfully, due to advanced technology, researchers are now able to identify and even travel to the habitats of the remarkable sea creature bringing mythical lore to reality and learning how to protect the magnificent animal.
Evidence suggests that the animal prefers the subtropical and temperate waters over continental shelves and island slopes. It also appears that their bodies can readily adapt to withstand an extreme range of water pressures, from the surface down to 3280 feet although their is very little research to back this.
Although the animal in the photo did lose its life, it appears to be from natural causes and the squid was collected for research as one of the brothers called a contact from the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research to come pick the animal up.