Cue the “Jaws” soundtrack. No, actually, that would be the theme song from “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.”
Kaikoura Marine Centre and Aquarium biologists on New Zealand’s South Island stumbled upon a monster squid on Wednesday in Kaikoura, more than 100 miles from Christchurch. Its mantle measures more than 6 1/2 feet in length and its longest tentacle stretches some 16 feet — making it one “massive specimen.” It weighs more than 1,000 pounds, scientists say.
Marine biologist and aquarium owner Megan Lewis told the Marlborough Express the squid was a mature female, though she did not know its exact age. She also said it was in “pristine” shape.
“They tend to grow very fast and live not very long,” she told the newspaper. She said she did not how it died but noted “the stomach was full so it wasn’t hungry.”
Workers removed the squid from the shore and transported it to the aquarium “before the birds got to it,” the aquarium said in a post on its Facebook page. “We got help to move it to the aquarium where it is safe inside a freezer with glass windows so you can see it — on display until we can do more with it.
“The mantle itself is over 2m long with a 19cm eye diameter! The longest tentacle is just a over 5m! What a beast!”
The aquarium said some samples from the squid will be sent to Auckland and Otago universities for more research.
Two years ago, biologists at the aquarium got a hold of a giant squid that was found floating in Shark’s Tooth point. In a Facebook post this week, the aquarium said a squid it found that year had bite marks on it from another giant squid “so we know there are more out there close by.”
Indeed, the region is no stranger to giant squid. In 1887, scientists published a paper documenting a giant squid measuring some 55 feet that was also found in New Zealand. But it is rare to see these beasts in the daylight, according to the Associated Press.
People on social media seemed pretty impressed, too. According to one commenter: “Now that’s alot of salt and pepper squid nom nom nom lol.”