Agriculture
New Gene Fights Potato Blight
Hungry bug seeks hot meal
Watering the Air
Amphibians
Toads
Newts
Bullfrogs
Animals
Baboons Listen for Who's Tops
Not Slippery When Wet
Revenge of the Cowbirds
Behavior
Between a rock and a wet place
Listening to Birdsong
Surprise Visitor
Birds
Rheas
Crows
Flamingos
Chemistry and Materials
Mother-of-Pearl on Ice
A Diamond Polish for Ancient Tools
Salt secrets
Computers
Troubles with Hubble
Seen on the Science Fair Scene
Earth from the inside out
Dinosaurs and Fossils
Three strikes wiped out woolly mammoths
Meet your mysterious relative
A Big, Weird Dino
E Learning Jamaica
Results of GSAT are in schools this week
2014 GSAT Results for Jamaican Kids
E Learning in Jamaica WIN PRIZES and try our Fun Animated Games
Earth
Easy Ways to Conserve Water
Rocking the House
Wave of Destruction
Environment
Giant snakes invading North America
Power of the Wind
Ready, unplug, drive
Finding the Past
Of Lice and Old Clothes
A Big Discovery about Little People
Stonehenge Settlement
Fish
Sharks
Puffer Fish
Freshwater Fish
Food and Nutrition
Moving Good Fats from Fish to Mice
A Pepper Part that Burns Fat
Food for Life
GSAT English Rules
Subject and Verb Agreement
Who vs. That vs. Which
Order of Adjectives
GSAT Exam Preparation Jamaica
E Learning in Jamaica WIN PRIZES and try our Fun Animated Games
March 21-22, 2013: Over 43,000 students will take the GSAT Exam
The Annual GSAT Scholarships
GSAT Exams Jamaica Scholarships
Access denied - Disabled boy aces GSAT
GSAT Exam Preparation
GSAT Practice Papers | GSAT Mathematics | Maths
GSAT Mathematics
Setting a Prime Number Record
Prime Time for Cicadas
It's a Math World for Animals
Human Body
Sleeping Soundly for a Longer Life
A Long Trek to Asia
What the appendix is good for
Invertebrates
Spiders
Tapeworms
Sponges
Mammals
Lynxes
Orangutans
Gerbils
Parents
Children and Media
The Surprising Meaning and Benefits of Nursery Rhymes
Raise a Lifelong Reader by Reading Aloud
Physics
Dreams of Floating in Space
The Pressure of Scuba Diving
Electric Backpack
Plants
Seeds of the Future
Plants Travel Wind Highways
Hungry bug seeks hot meal
Reptiles
Boa Constrictors
Copperhead Snakes
Iguanas
Space and Astronomy
Witnessing a Rare Venus Eclipse
Saturn's Spongy Moon
A Dusty Birthplace
Technology and Engineering
Bionic Bacteria
Drawing Energy out of Wastewater
A Micro-Dose of Your Own Medicine
The Parts of Speech
Countable and Uncountable Nouns
Pronouns
Problems with Prepositions
Transportation
Are Propellers Fin-ished?
Troubles with Hubble
Revving Up Green Machines
Weather
Arctic Melt
The solar system's biggest junkyard
Earth's Poles in Peril
Add your Article

Fishing for Giant Squid

Stories of giant sea monsters have terrified people since ancient times. Some of the scariest tales involve a gargantuan squid that attacks boats and snares sailors with its gnarly tentacles. Over the years, the long-armed creatures have gained mythical status. Authors have written about them. Artists have painted them. As myths go, however, giant squid are unusual because they actually exist. Sixty-foot-long specimens have washed up on beaches around the world. But the animals have always been dead by the time they appeared on shore. Determined to find giant squid alive and in their home waters, a small but dedicated group of scientists has been aggressively scouring the deep sea for many years. "For reasons we're not quite sure of, we haven't been able to find this guy alive," says Lou Zeidberg, a marine biologist at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute in Moss Landing, Calif. Until now. A group of Japanese scientists recently caught one of the elusive creatures on film. With an underwater camera, the team followed a 26-foot-long giant squid at a depth of 3,000 feet near Japan's Ogasawara Islands. The photos—about 550 in all—show the giant squid lunging for bait, getting stuck, and losing one of its tentacles. Skin displays Giant squid, known to scientists as Architeuthis, is just one of some 700 species of squid, which belong to a larger group of animals called cephalopods. The group also includes octopuses, cuttlefish, and the nautilus. Cephalopods are a compelling collection of creatures to study, Zeidberg says, because there's a lot to learn about them. For one thing, they have special cells in their skin that can change color almost instantly to create elaborate patterns and displays"People spend a lot of money creating light shows to come close to what cephalopods can do naturally," Zeidberg says. Cephalopods also have highly developed eyes, similar to ours. They have long tentacles extending from their bodies. And they're one of the few animals in the world that use jet propulsion to move. They squirt water out of their bodies in one direction in order to move in the opposite direction. "When you see them dead in a fish market, they're kind of disgusting," Zeidberg says. "When you see them alive, they're just amazing. I could stare at them forever." Diversity Among squid, Architeuthis gets most of the public's attention thanks to its size. Scientists, however, are probing the startling diversity within the squid world. There are squid so small that babies are the size of a grain of rice, and adults grow to be just 6 inches long. Jumbo squid are about 6 to 10 feet long. Giant squid can reach 60 feet. Other species fit somewhere in between. Zeidberg and his coworkers have been catching squid to study in the lab. They want to know how much fish squid eat, how fast they swim, how much oxygen they use, how their color-changing cells work, and why their ranges have been spreading in some places but shrinking in others. This year, for example, was a bad one for squid in California, Zeidberg says. That's a problem because fisheries in California usually catch more squid than anything else, he says. Most of the catch gets sold to China and Japan. The rest is eaten here as calamari. Squid fishing is a multimillion-dollar industry. So, learning more about the animals might help scientists regulate squid numbers and prevent expensive losses. Light attraction Most types of squid are easy to spot in the wild because they regularly come to the surface, and they're attracted to the lights on cameras that researchers use. "Jumbo squid just love us," Zeidberg says. "They use our lights to hunt other animals." Giant squid are much harder to see. For one thing, they live at extreme depths, where the environment is cold and harsh. The only practical way for people to get a glimpse of what's down there directly is with remotely operated vehicles (see "Explorer of the Extreme Deep"). Such vehicles, however, are not ideal for squid hunting. They're expensive to operate. They're noisy. Their lights are blindingly bright. And they move at only a few miles per hour, Zeidberg says. Giant squid, on the other hand, can probably swim up to 15 miles per hour. "Architeuthis lives its whole life in the deep sea," he says. "When it sees something bright and doesn't know what it is, it probably doesn't want to find out." Knowing that sperm whales feed on giant squid, Japanese researchers started setting out cameras where whales gather near islands south of Japan. The scientists dangled the cameras above hooks baited with small squid and mashed shrimp. On Sept. 30, 2004, one of these cameras recorded the pale form of a giant squid as it attacked the bait. Giant squid have eight arms plus two extralong tentacles. The photographed creature wrapped the ends of its paired tentacles around the bait, and one tentacle snagged on the hook. The camera caught images of the squid fighting to free itself. After more than 4 hours, part of the tentacle tore off, and the squid vanished. When the tentacle section was hauled to the surface, its suckers could still grab the boat and even people's fingers. Inspiring images By bringing attention to squid, the images of a live giant squid may inspire people to care more about the animals, their relatives, and the oceans they live in, Zeidberg says. At the same time, actually finding something that has been sought for so long may have a downside, too. "When a mystery finally gets solved, there's one less thing to wonder about," Zeidberg says. Perhaps that's what author John Steinbeck meant in his 1941 book The Log from the Sea of Cortez. "Men really need sea monsters in their personal oceans," Steinbeck wrote. "An ocean without its unnamed monsters would be like a completely dreamless sleep."

Fishing for Giant Squid
Fishing for Giant Squid








Designed and Powered by HBJamaica.com™