Colossal squid vs giant squid

Both giant and colossal squid are a class of molluscs but one is much bigger than the other.

Weight

Colossal squid Mesonychoteuthis hamiltoni are slightly shorter than giant squid Architeuthis dux, but have a larger, heavier body.

Te Papa’s colossal squid tips the scales at a massive 490 kg. In contrast, giant squid weigh up to about 275 kg.

Scientist looking at a giant squid in a tank

Caption

Giant squid, Architeuthis dux Steenstrup, collected 24 August 2007 off Cape Foulwind, New Zealand. CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. Te Papa (M.277965)

 

Scientists with the colossal squid

Caption

Scientists with a colossal squid, 2008. Te Papa

Beaks

All squid have sharp horny beaks made of material similar to human fingernails. The colossal squid has the largest beak of any squid, including the giant squid.

A scientist holds a colossal squid beak

Caption

Colossal squid beak, 2014. Photograph by Norm Heke. Te Papa

Tentacles

The tips of the colossal squid’s tentacles (the clubs) are armed with two unusual rows of sharp, swivelling hooks, and two rows of tiny suckers.

Other squid species also have tentacle hooks. The beak and the hooks are lethal weapons for catching and holding large fish like the toothfish. 

Tentacle club swivelling hook and arm sucker dissected out from the fleshy suckers

Caption

Tentacle club swivelling hook and arm sucker dissected out from the fleshy suckers, 2008. Te Papa