Predators and Prey

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The giant squid is a fearsome creature; a 40 foot long animal with eight arms and two tentacles. What in the world could possibly make it its prey?  There is only one animal know to attack and prey upon Architeuthis: the sperm whale.

Sperm whales are toothed whales that can be up 67 feet long.  Most of their diet is made up of medium-sized squid, but sometimes, the whale will dive to the great depths of the ocean to catch giant or colossal squid.

We have discovered the battle of these giant creatures from a few accounts from sailors, and there has also been evidence on the whales themselves.  Skin on dead sperm whales washed ashore have been found to the sucker marks of squid of great size, most likely the giant squid or colossal squid.

“Nearly all sperm whales carry scars caused by the suckers and claws of large squid, scars caused by suckers caused by up to 10 cm.”

-L. Harrison Matthews

Architeuthis and other large species of squid have been found in the stomachs of sperm whales, more proof of the fights between these two creatures.

Moving from the sole predator of Architeuthis, we now look at its prey. The giant has recently been shown to eat deep-sea fish and even other, smaller species of squid.

In order to catch its prey, the giant squid primarily uses its two tentacles to grab hold of it. The suckers on the tentacles, as well as the arms, have finely serrated layers of chitin, which helps it to grab onto its prey more easily. The prey is brought to the beak, where it is shred by the radula, a tongue with multiple shards of sharp, file-like teeth. The food then goes to the esophagus.


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