• Still from one of the first videos of a live giant squid. Photo source: National GeographicStill from one of the first videos of a live giant squid. Photo source: National Geographic

AUT University live streaming giant squid dissection tonight!

Wednesday 18th June, 2014. 10:00pm to Thursday 19th June, 2014. 4:00am

Later tonight (British Summer Time) AUT University will start a livestreamed dissection of several giant squid specimens.  The creatures have fascinated humans for centuries and featured in many stories, but still very little is understood about many aspects of the biology of giant squids.

The deep-sea specimens are "Architeuthis Dux" collected from New Zealand waters and will be examined by Dr Kat Bolstad of AUT University and her team.  Dr Bolstad leads a research group focusing on squid systematics and ecology, and during the dissections will be collecting data and information for a wide range of projects, including trophic ecology (how the giant squid fits into marine food webs), possible effects of ocean acidification on this species, genetic information, and gaining a better understanding of vision in large squids.

The dissection will be streamed live online from 18th June 10pm (BST) until 19th June (4am), you can watch it live, or follow developments through social media using #AUTsquid.

Did you know?

  • The first live video footage of these animals in their natural habitat was obtained just two years ago, although the species has been known to science for more than 130 years and has appeared in folklore for much longer.
  • Although over 20 species of giant squid have been formally named and described, a genetic study published in 2013 showed that there appears to be just one species worldwide.
  • Giant squid have some of the largest eyes in the animal kingdom-up to 25 cm (10") in diameter.
  • Squid have three hearts and a doughnut-shaped brain, with the oesophagus passing through the centre.  A giant squid's oesophagus is about the diameter of a human thumb, and a 250 kg giant squid (550 lbs) has a brain weighing just 20 grams (0.7 oz)!

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