April 30, 2008
A colossal squid floats in a tank at a museum in New Zealand on April 30, giving scientists their first close look at the rare and elusive sea creature.
The giant was caught by a fishing boat off the coast of Antarctica
in February 2007. At 26 feet (8 meters) long, it is believed to be the largest squid ever captured.
Experts froze the animal, a female, soon after its capture to preserve it for study.
Biologists are now thawing the squid and have already begun analyzing its unique features, including swiveling hooks found on the ends of its tentacles and eyes as big as dinner plates.
Scientists believe colossal squid may grow as long as 46 feet (14 meters), but because the creatures live at such great depthup to 6,500 feet (1,980 meters)sightings are extremely rare.
The species was first identified in 1925 from two tentacles found in the stomach of a sperm whale.
The first live sighting of a colossal squid
came in 2003, when fishers caught a 20-foot (6-meter) male in Antarctica's Ross Sea.
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Photograph by Marty Melville/Getty Images