A giant squid found floating at sea created a huge amount of interest in South Bay, Kaikoura, yesterday morning.
Jack and Sharon Osikai found the 8 metre-long squid floating off the coast near Shark's Tooth when they were returning from a fishing trip about 8am.
The Christchurch couple, who have holidayed in Kaikoura for about 20 years, said they had never seen anything like it.
"It's not something you see every day," said Mr Osikai. "It looked quite impressive out in the water with all its tentacles floating around . . . It took us about an hour to pull it in."
The squid, thought to weigh more than 140 kilograms, was taken to the Kaikoura Aquarium where aquarium owner, marine biologist Megan Bosch, was keen to begin examining it straight away.
The squid's clubs, or two longest tentacles, which were about 6.5m, would be put on ice and one was destined for Te Papa, she said.
She was then going to cut up the rest of the squid into its mantle (body wall), tentacles and insides, which would be frozen and used for education purposes.
"We will be able to examine it to see what it has been eating, measure the diameter of its eyes, and its individual tentacles," she said. "We have already got a [giant squid] tentacle which we can compare it to."
Megan said the squid had died recently as the decomposition process had not begun. It had probably been swimming around the night before it was found, she said.
A portion of the mantle had been eaten off, but the remainder of the squid was in perfect condition, she said.
The shape of the bite marks suggested it had been attacked by another squid.
"It really does look like beak marks from another squid. They are carnivores, and they do eat each other."
The giant squid is the second-largest mollusc and the second largest of all extant invertebrates. It is only exceeded by the colossal squid.
News of the giant squid in Kaikoura yesterday came less than one month after a Japanese film crew captured the first video of the elusive creature deep in the Pacific Ocean.
Japan's National Science Museum succeeded in filming the creature at a depth of about 630m in the Pacific Ocean and followed it in a submarine to a depth of about 900m.
Museum researcher Tsunemi Kubodera said the squid on the footage had its two clubs missing, and estimated it would have been 8m long if it had been whole.
Giant squid are thought to grow up to 10m long, but live at depths humans generally cannot explore.
Megan Bosch from the Kaikoura Marine Centre and Aquarium will be dissecting the giant squid live on TV3's Campbell Live tonight.
- The Marlborough Express