By RAY LILLEY – 6 hours ago
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — Marine scientists studying the carcass of a rare colossal squid said Wednesday they had measured its eye at about 11 inches across — bigger than a dinner plate — making it the largest animal eye on Earth.
One of the squid's two eyes, with a lens as big as an orange, was found intact as the scientists examined the creature while it was slowly defrosted at New Zealand's national museum, Te Papa Tongarewa. It has been preserved there since being caught in the Ross Sea off Antarctica's northern coast last year.
"This is the only intact eye (of a colossal squid) that's ever been found. It's spectacular," said Auckland University of Technology squid specialist Kat Bolstad, one of a team of international scientists brought in to examine the creature.
"It's the largest known eye in the animal kingdom," Bolstad told The Associated Press.
The squid is the biggest specimen ever caught of the rare and mysterious deep-water species Mesonychoteuthis hamiltoni, or colossal squid. When caught, it measured 26 feet long and weighed about 1,000 pounds, but scientists believe the species may grow as long as 46 feet.
"This is the largest eye ever recorded in history and studied," said Swedish Professor Eric Warrant of the University of Lund, who specializes in vision in invertebrates. "It has a huge lens the size of an orange and captures an awful lot of light in the dark depths in which it hunts."
The squids can descend to 6,500 feet and are known to be aggressive hunters.
Scientists using an endoscope to examine the stomach and other organs said later Wednesday on their blog that the squid was a female.
"We just found the ovaries — the specimen is a girl! The ovaries are full of several thousands of eggs!" the entry said.
Bolstad earlier said that females are believed to grow larger than the male. This is dedicated to Alaskaguy.
CFH HMagic bball season.
Let my fred's Four Horsemen ride.
I saw this earlier... the crazy thing is the beak on this thing was smaller than beaks they have found in Sperm whales (the natural preditor of giant squid... yes they have preditors ), so these things get bigger.
I have to say... it's kind of weird. Since I haven't had much to do at work I check CNN online as well as here... and I've actually seen stories on there before I have here! Either I have too much time on my hands or Alaska Guy is slacking!
Oh we will fight, fight, fight for Iowa State, and may her colors ever fly!!! In Accordance with Prophecy
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