Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History zoologist and giant squid expert, Dr. Clyde Roper, weighs in to debunk some common myths about the giant squid’s most famous predator, the sperm whale:
“Giant squid do not eat sperm whales. They eat small fishes, like orange roughy and hokie, and small squids. Quite the opposite…sperm whales eat giant squid, and many other species of midwater and deep sea squids, some quite small. The sucker rings of the largest giant squid are a maximum of 2” in diameter. Any scars on a whale larger than that are either old scars that have enlarged somewhat as the whale has grown.
The largest giant squid specimens ever recorded were 60 ft total length, back in the 19th Century. I have examined over 100 specimens in museums and on beaches all over the world, and the largest I have ever seen was in the 40-45 foot range. Please note that the two long feeding tentacles make up about 2/3 the total length of a giant squid.”
Smithsonian have just published a children’s book on the giant squid: “Giant Squid: Searching for a Sea Monster”, by Mary M. Cerullo and Clyde F. E. Roper, 2012. The book’s target audience is 10-14 years, but the whole age spectrum can learn something from it.