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article imageFlorida fishermen find 25-foot long giant squid (video)

By Kim I. Hartman     Jul 3, 2011 in Environment
Stuart - A trio of Florida fishermen, out for a day of fishing in the Atlantic Ocean, made a once-in-a-lifetime discovery when they spotted a giant squid floating in the water 12-miles off Jensen Beach in Martin County.
"We pulled up and thought it was something to fish on, a pallet or something like that. We looked at it, all three of us were like holy mackerel," Robert Benz told WPTV.
Benz said he and his pals knew they had to get the squid into their boat and bring it back to the commercial fishing docks.
"Nobody believes a fisherman," said Benz. "It didn't seem it had been dead long, the tentacles were still moving and it was sticking to you when we got it in."
The 25-foot-long, 200-pound giant squid was in extremely good condition when the fishermen found it. They contacted fish and wildlife agencies on their return to land and took immediate steps to preserve it while in their care, according to news reports.
"Giant Squid, with a scientific name of Architeuthis Dux, feed off fish and other squid near the continental slope about 12 to 14 miles offshore. They can grow to a length of 45 feet and weigh up to a ton," said Ellie Van Os, director of education and exhibits for the Florida Oceanographic Society, reports the TCPalm.
Originally thought to be just 23-foot in length, the giant squid was taken to the University of Florida's Museum of Natural History, where it was determined to be 25-foot long from the top of its head to the tips of its two feeding tentacles.
John Slapcinsky, Florida Museum malacology collection manager said, 'It’s so rare to get these specimens and they’re such deep-water animals that we don’t know much about how they live. This specimen provides an excellent opportunity to learn things about these creatures we couldn’t find out any other way.”
Slapcinsky explained that Giant Squid have only one reproductive cycle. After producing offspring the giant squid becomes lethargic and eventually dies. Researcher's guess that's what happened to the squid found in the Florida waters. Slapcinsky said that the specimen was in 'fabulous shape' when they received it. Steps to preserve the sea creature have begun and will take a few weeks to complete.
“It would be really cool to exhibit something like this, if it turns out that it preserves well enough and we can find a way to exhibit it so that it doesn’t damage the specimen," said Slapcinsky.
"This is a pretty massive animal,” he said. “It took about six people to move it, and it wasn’t light.” Studying the creature will allow scientists to add more information to their base knowledge of the species.
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