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Earth Science

Breaking the Squid Barrier 126

Posted by timothy
from the calimari-for-the-5000 dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Dr. Steve O'Shea of Auckland, New Zealand is attempting to break the record for keeping deep sea squid alive in captivity, with the goal of being able to raise a giant squid one day. Right now, he's raising the broad squid, sepioteuthis australis, from egg masses found in seaweed. This is a lot harder than it sounds, because the squid he's studying grow rapidly and eat only live prey, making it hard for them to keep the squid from becoming prey themselves. If his research works out, you might one day be able to visit an aquarium and see giant squid."
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Breaking the Squid Barrier

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  • Squidcam (Score:3, Insightful)

    by biryokumaru (822262) * <biryokumaru@gmail.com> on Sunday February 14, 2010 @08:34PM (#31139416)

    Well, until they have them at Coney Island, I'll just keep my eye on the squidcam [aut.ac.nz]. I wonder how long I can control it for...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 14, 2010 @08:38PM (#31139452)

    1. Raise giant squid
    2. ???
    3. Profit!

    I think #2 could easily be "open chain of squid restaurants" or "conquer the world"

    • by biryokumaru (822262) * <biryokumaru@gmail.com> on Sunday February 14, 2010 @08:42PM (#31139484)

      pen chain of squid restaurants

      Or sell the meat to an already popular franchise...

      McCalamari? McSquid? No... I've got it!

      McKraken!

      • by Cryacin (657549)
        Better than McLovin.
      • Re: (Score:1, Redundant)

        by AlmondMan (1163229)
        I see what you did there :)
      • Re:A simple plan (Score:5, Informative)

        by Ma8thew (861741) on Monday February 15, 2010 @04:52AM (#31142256)
        From Wikipedia [wikipedia.org]:

        Giant squid and some other large squid species maintain neutral buoyancy in seawater through an ammonium chloride solution which flows throughout their body and is lighter than seawater. This differs from the method of floatation used by fish, which involves a gas-filled swim bladder. The solution tastes somewhat like salmiakki and makes giant squid unattractive for general human consumption.

        • by spxero (782496)

          Yeah, but what about deep-fried? Throw some ranch on the side and we won't even taste the squid!

          • It's been done, some marine biologist had a few unused tissue samples and tried frying them up in olive oil with some garlic...didn't help.
        • Sell it to Finns then.
        • Wait, salmiakki-flavored squid? That might actually work. At the very least it would have the "tastes unlike anything else" bonus to it's popularity.

          Hey, the Japanese eat fugu just for the kick of not knowing if the chef accidentally laced the fish with powerful neurotoxins.

      • Or sell the meat to an already popular franchise...

        McCalamari? McSquid? No... I've got it!

        McKraken!

        They couldn't name it the McKraken, they'd be sued by Phil

      • They could add a new character to the McDonalds family, Phil McKraken.

    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by stockard (1431131)
      You could also keep it as a defense for your island fortress against James Bond a la Dr. No! (The novel, not the movie.)
    • by $RANDOMLUSER (804576) on Sunday February 14, 2010 @09:43PM (#31139962)

      "open chain of squid restaurants"

      You know, in Japan, parents tell their children that chicken "tastes just like squid".

    • by Greyfox (87712)
      2) Contract to Japan for a live-action version of their most popular anime, "Tentacle Rape Monster Conquers Teenage Schoolgirl".
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Talarohk (1198901)
      One problem: giant squid flesh has a high concentration of ammonium ions, and so probably tastes like urine-soaked diapers.
    • by riT-k0MA (1653217)
      Do they come with sonic blasters to counter the laser-sharks?
    • #2 is "attach frickin' lasers to them"
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by interkin3tic (1469267)

      1. Raise giant squid
      2. ???
      3. Profit!

      I think #2 could easily be "open chain of squid restaurants" or "conquer the world"

      You could also sell them as exotic pets to rich, stupid people.

      A more legitimate use would be to prevent them from going extinct. They don't seem to be classified as endangered, but I'd guess that might have more to do with our ability to observe and count them than their actual likelyhood of going extinct.

      What came to my mind first though was that giant squids might then be useful as model organisms for various studies. The giant axons of squids (regular sized squids, giant axons) were useful for first i [nih.gov]

      • by TamCaP (900777)
        Some neuroscientists still work with the giant squid axon. And yes, it was used extensively in neuroscience, an elegant collection of works by Hodgkin and Huxley (foundation of modern electrophysiology) comes to mind. They even received a Nobel prize for their work in 1963 (the research was published in the early 50s).
        • Some neuroscientists still work with the giant squid axon. And yes, it was used extensively in neuroscience, an elegant collection of works by Hodgkin and Huxley (foundation of modern electrophysiology) comes to mind. They even received a Nobel prize for their work in 1963 (the research was published in the early 50s).

          I guess my bias was showing a little there :-P My undergrad neuroscience prof must have been better than I thought if I even vaguely remembered that.

  • by EdZ (755139)
    Having a pet squid would be pretty neat. Pity that they require such comparatively large tanks for even a small squid.
    • Plus they can eat prey up to 1.5x their size, so trying to keep it in the bathtub without telling your wife probably isn't going to turn out well...

      • trying to keep it in the bathtub without telling your wife probably isn't going to turn out well...

        Unless you're into that kind of thing, in which case it'll turn out great!

      • Plus they can eat prey up to 1.5x their size, so trying to keep it in the bathtub without telling your wife probably isn't going to turn out well...

        I keep my eels in a hovercraft. Maybe that would work for squid?

      • by afabbro (33948)

        Plus they can eat prey up to 1.5x their size, so trying to keep it in the bathtub without telling your wife probably isn't going to turn out well...

        Hans Reiser thanks you for failing to mention this idea until now.

  • Meanwhile (Score:5, Funny)

    by MichaelSmith (789609) on Sunday February 14, 2010 @08:47PM (#31139536) Homepage Journal

    Giant squid are trying to break the human barrier: to tes how long they can keep human beings alive at great depth. Currently the record stands at 120 seconds.

    • maybe that's a better solution. Grow human babies in deep water pressures and then let them study the squids.
    • by Elky Elk (1179921) on Monday February 15, 2010 @05:05AM (#31142322)

      That's part of the scientific exchange program, done on a squid pro quo basis.

      • by MichaelSmith (789609) on Monday February 15, 2010 @05:42AM (#31142472) Homepage Journal

        done on a squid pro quo basis.

        Aghhhh!

        I am having a brain MRI tomorrow morning and if it shows abnormalities it is all your fault.

        • Re:Meanwhile (Score:5, Informative)

          by Cyberax (705495) on Monday February 15, 2010 @06:07AM (#31142548)

          Do you know that MRI scanners use SQUIDs?

          Seriously: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SQUID [wikipedia.org]

          • I'm done for. They will scan my brain for remnants of this article, do away with me and march on New Zealand to rescue their brothers and sisters.

            I am starting to get worried now. I am pretty sure that I have not acquired any lumps of metal in my eyes over the last 44 years, but how can I be sure? This is my first time in a really strong magnetic field and I don't want to find out what it feels like if there are unaccounted metallic splinters in there. I plan to keep my eyes closed.

          • Do you know that MRI scanners use SQUIDs?

            Seriously: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SQUID [wikipedia.org]

            Not really. If you read the wiki article carefully, you will see that SQUIDS are used in "microtesla" MRI. This is not the normal MRI. If you go to a hospital you will probably get a 1.5 Tesla scan. If you volunteer as a research subject you might get a 3 T scan or rarely a 7 T scan.

            SQUIDS are used for MEG though. If you are being prepped for brain surgery for epilepsy you might get one of those, although most places still just use EEG, which is an order of magnitude (or 2) cheaper.

  • I don't think... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Antony-Kyre (807195)

    giant squids were meant to live in captivity. Seems kind of cruel. But, oh well.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by sexconker (1179573)

      I don't think giant squids were meant to live in captivity. Seems kind of cruel. But, oh well.

      I don't think humans were meant to live in captivity, but here we fucking are. Wake up in a box, go to work in a different box, come home to the first box, repeat.

      On weekends we to stay in the first box; Sometimes we come out, but typically our weekends are spent maintaining the box.

      A captive squid is no more cruel than a captive cow or a captive cat or the fly buzzing around trying to go through your window.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by timmarhy (659436)
        "meant to"? who sets those rules anyway. have you asked a squid if it likes it or not? maybe they fucking LOVE being in captivity, for all you know they hate having to swim about all day trying to find food with the threat of starvation ever present.

        My dog wasn't meant to live inside either, but that doesn't stop him howling at the back door wanting to come in and jump all over the bed.

  • by BadAnalogyGuy (945258) <BadAnalogyGuy@gmail.com> on Sunday February 14, 2010 @09:01PM (#31139652)

    That isn't singing. Air is escaping from the squid's pores because there isn't enough atmospheric pressure at sea level to properly hold the colloidal structure together which makes it sound like the squid is singing.

    Feeding is only one aspect of caring for giant squids.

    • Ouch. That sounds really bad/painful.

      Can’t hey just use a pressurized aquarium?

      This sounds like (by definition unnecessary) torture.

    • by Xest (935314)

      I was thinking about this issue myself when I read it. How hard would it be to emulate the pressure on a body of water large enough for a squid to survive in? I'd imagine pretty damn hard and extremely expensive right?

      • by i.r.id10t (595143)

        Nah, a little airspace and a compressor will take care of the pressure aspect.

        Temperature, water quality, what to feed it, and how to open the pressurised container to feed it (air lock style door?) would be trickier.

        • Temperature, water quality, what to feed it, and how to open the pressurised container to feed it (air lock style door?) would be trickier.

          especially if they need live prey.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Xest (935314)

      In fact, further to my other response to you, thinking about this, is it actually a problem? They're talking about raising from eggs I believe, so would an egg born squid suffer the problem if brought up entirely in a much lower pressure body of water?

      Is the ability to only be able to cope with high pressure genetic, or is it merely a result of natural growth at that pressure?

  • Only live prey? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by nicknamenotavailable (1730990) on Sunday February 14, 2010 @09:10PM (#31139720)

    eat only live prey

    So what do they plan to feed them once they become "giant" ?

    chickens?
    goats?
    cows?

    Just stand back from the pool, will ya?

    • "Giant" is a misnomer. Compared to the average squid, these things are pretty huge, but they are only 2m in length in most cases. You could probably keep one fed on a couple broiler chickens every fourth day or so.

      • Re:Only live prey? (Score:5, Informative)

        by Alcohol Fueled (603402) on Sunday February 14, 2010 @10:35PM (#31140296) Homepage
        When I hear "giant squid," I think of a... giant squid. Per Wikipedia [wikipedia.org]: "Giant squid can grow to a tremendous size: recent estimates put the maximum size at 13 metres (43 ft) for females and 10 metres (33 ft) for males from caudal fin to the tip of the two long tentacles (second only to the colossal squid at an estimated 14 metres (46 ft), one of the largest living organisms)."
        • by syousef (465911)

          estimated 14 metres (46 ft), one of the largest living organisms)."

          Gotta love Wikipedia. I have a palm tree that's longer. One of the largest living ANIMALS perhaps.

          • by mforbes (575538)
            Yes, if you want truly large living organisms, you need only take a look at this [abc.net.au] thing.
            • by Grishnakh (216268)

              We're talking about animals here, not plants. Just about any decent-sized tree has more mass than the largest squid.

              And I believe the current record for largest living organism (which again is a plant) is the Aspen tree, in particular a grove of them in Colorado somewhere. All the "trees" are actually just shoots coming out of the same huge set of underground roots.

      • I would pay money (not a lot, mind you...) to see a video of a 2 meter long squid devouring a live chicken.
        • Go to the Gulf of California. They have the Humboldt squid there. Find them, toss in your chicken, watch the carnage. of course you might have to lure them with some bait first. They usually eat fish not birds.

          Myself, I would like a few Humboldt squid for bait. One of them would be bait for a few trips.

  • by davidwr (791652) on Sunday February 14, 2010 @09:13PM (#31139736) Homepage Journal

    The first thing that came to my mind was proxying web servers.

    The second thing was a row of squid (the living kind) being used as a barricade.

  • making it hard for them to keep the squid from becoming prey themselves.

    Could be worse. :P

  • You know you hate proxies when you are disappointed this article isn't about the best ways to defeat them.
  • Don't say "breaking the squid barrier" around these aquariums.
  • He'll probably need to try 20,000 times or so.

  • by myc (105406) on Sunday February 14, 2010 @09:47PM (#31139996)

    nonetheless, trying to raise giant squid may not be a good idea:

    http://xkcd.com/520/ [xkcd.com]

  • attach lasers to their frickin' heads?
  • Keeping Squid [squid-cache.org] alive is easy... make sure to feed [chi.il.us] it properly, meet the hardware requirements, ensure ample access to water, and follow basic care [blog.last.fm] guidelines.

    Don't abuse or torture your squid.

  • and there I thought this was going to be about releasing proxy servers into the wild ...
  • If they found that you could grow anything in deep water and it gets really big. Then they figure out that the squid is really a miniature squid and is overwhelmingly disappointing...

  • by molecular (311632)

    did anyone else think this was about building some ssl-tunnel through squid proxies?

  • .... first learn their bio luminescence language
  • Maybe once we're able to breed them we can also teach them to walk on land?

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