Giant Squid Suckers

Discussion in 'Physiology and Biology' started by lotus101, Oct 9, 2003.

  1. lotus101

    lotus101 O. vulgaris Registered

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    Hey all,
    I've always been curius about how giant squids leave scars on sperm whales. I can't imagine what it takes to do that, which leads me to my question... What causes this? Does the whale (when it senses that it's being latched on to) try to remove it and eat it, there for causing the suckers to "tear" right off too fast, or does the squid just try to kill it's attacker by trying to tear it apart? I understand that there's little known about this, but I was just curius. Those must be strong suckers (hehe, no pun intended)!
     
  2. Jean

    Jean Colossal Squid Supporter

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    Giant squid have chitinous sucker rings which have numerous small "teeth" on them (Steve or Kat can tell us how many teeth I'm sure :D ). THey're pretty pointed and abrasive. I would imagine that in the "heat of battle" the could inflict some serious scratches.

    Although I wonder if the more serious marks on a whales skin might not come from Messie the colossal squid. It seems to be far better equipped to do damage to a whales skin than Archi what with those swivelling hooks and a mean disposition?

    J
     
  3. lotus101

    lotus101 O. vulgaris Registered

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    Hmmmm, very interesting...
    Actually, thats very cool! I guess that would make sense so they could catch larger prey by latching on to them rather than doing what octo's do.
    Thanks!
     
  4. Tintenfisch

    Tintenfisch Architeuthis Staff Member Moderator

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    Architeuthis tentacle club suckers have ~24 teeth evenly distributed around the perimeter. They look something like this...

    [​IMG]
     
  5. lotus101

    lotus101 O. vulgaris Registered

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    Wow! those don't look friendly lol.
    cephs keep on getting more and more interesting for me...
    :meso:
     
  6. Jean

    Jean Colossal Squid Supporter

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    Thanks Kat. BTW I assume this varies on the arms etc?? The sucker rings I .....er acquired............off the parking garage floor seem to have rather more (not that I've done anything as sensible as actually COUNT them you understand :D )

    J
     
  7. Clem

    Clem Architeuthis Supporter Registered

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    Hello Lotus,

    The crushing water pressures extant at Architeuthis' place in the water column have the effect of increasing the effectiveness of the suckers when they're applied to prey items, or the skin of an attacking whale: the deeper the squid is, the more damage the suckers cause. A single atmosphere of pressure holding together two Magdeburg spheres (open-mouthed flasks joined at the rims, with the air pumped out) produces a very strong seal. (A small rubber suction-cup, applied to a person's skin, will cause a painful bruise to form within minutes.)

    33 vertical feet of sea-water is equivalent to one atmosphere. At a depth of 3,000 feet, under the weight of nearly 1,000 atmospheres of pressure, the force holding Architeuthis' suckers to the slick skin of a Sperm whale would be formidable, driving the chitinous teeth of the sucker rings deep into the skin, bruising and possibly ulcerating the underlying tissue.

    Mesonychoteuthis, equipped with suckers bearing large hooks, would likely inflict a hurting of a different order of magnitude.

    :goofysca:

    Clem
     
  8. joel_ang

    joel_ang Architeuthis Registered

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    That kinda makes sense :mrgreen: gee, must be pretty gnarly :goofysca:

    :meso:
     
  9. Wpg-girl

    Wpg-girl Pygmy Octopus Registered

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    I have heard that the skin of the whale grows with it, so the scars are stretched as the whale increases in size, making it look as though larger suckers made the marks. Is that true?
    Or are the larger marks just made by Mesonychoteuthis? (we're talking marks the size of dinner plates)?
     
  10. Clem

    Clem Architeuthis Supporter Registered

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    Hello Wpg-girl,

    You're absolutely right. Growth does distort and enlarge the scars left by sucker rings. Follow this link to see a photograph of a deceased male sperm whale with a veritable growth-chart in scars adorning its head. Dr. Steve (O'Shea) posted that photo (and two others), courtesy of the New Zealand Department of Conservation, on the "Squid beaks from whale stomachs" thread. As Steve notes in his posted comments, some of the whale's scars were left by Architeuthis, others may have been left by Mesonychoteuthis. Nothing dinner-plate sized, though.

    Clem
     

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