Friday Squid Blogging: The Colossal Squid isn't a Vicious Predator
New research shows that, even though it’s 15 meters long, it’s not the kraken of myth:
Its large size and predatory nature fuelled the ancient myth of the underwater “kraken” seamonster and modern speculation that the colossal squid must be aggressive and fast, attributes that allow it to prey on fish and even give sperm whales a hard time.
Yet as the creature is seldom encountered let alone studied, there are no direct measurements of the colossal squid’s behaviour.
So instead, the team used a set of routine metabolic rates for other deep-sea squid species and extrapolated the data to match the colossal squid’s size.
“Our findings demonstrate that the colossal squid has a daily energy consumption 300-fold to 600-fold lower than those of other similar-sized top predators of the Southern Ocean, such as baleen and toothed whales,” says Dr Rosa.
This study reveals a single 5kg Antarctic toothfish would provide enough nourishment for a 500kg colossal squid to survive for 200 days.
“The colossal squid is not a voracious predator capable of high-speed predator-prey interactions,” says Dr Rosa.
“It is rather, an ambush or sit-and-float predator that uses the hooks on its arms and tentacles to ensnare prey that unwittingly approach.”