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.
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.
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.