Giant Squids attacking ships (a la "Nemo")

Discussion in 'Physiology and Biology' started by Graeme, Mar 27, 2006.

  1. Graeme

    Graeme Vampyroteuthis Registered

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    I couldn't find a thread on this already, and it's a question staring to bug me a bit. Assuming a live archie did attack a ship or boat, owing to cavitation and the large radius of its suckers, would it realyl be able to attach itself to the hull of a boat? Studies show that at sea level, larger diameter suckers can run into problems regarding adherence, plus the problem with cavitation that affects nearly all cephs at sea level, where bubbls are formed in the sucker, causing it to fail, or even causing damage to the structure itself. Would an archie sucker be able to generate enough negative pressure? Or does it even need to since it's chitin rings are rather nasty looking pieces of work anyway? Any ideas? Is this just fiction, caused by a romantic respect for the sea, and the tall tales of bored, drunken sailors, or could it be true?

    Quincy
     
  2. monty

    monty Colossal Squid Staff Member Supporter

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    I don't know diddly-squat about cavitation in this context, but the 3 things I thought of are:

    1) I've seen plenty of big suction cups at sea level, and they seem to work ok. When they have a wet rim to get a good seal, it seems like whether it's a vacuum or just a small amount of air in the space, when the volume is decreased, it pretty much works as planned. In general, suction cups, hence probably suckers, tend to rely on the principle that the harder they're sucking, the better the better the seal, so the harder they can suck.

    2) chitin rings seem to be a bit at odds with the "suction cup" model. Certainly on some surfaces, they would make a worse seal-- if they can "dig in" to the flesh, they might make a better seal (and are certainly more effective at causing injury!) but for pure suction holding, I think they may be more of a liability than an asset. However, they do have one other added bonus that I suspect is the main reason they evolved: they prevent tangential sliding along the surface that's being grabbed-- they can essentially anchor the sucker in one place on the fish (or whatever) so that if it's pulling away, the sucker can't slide backwards while the fish gets away.

    3) It seems like archi sucker rings might be able to get a good hold on a wooden ship, but it seems likely that the chitin rings aren't sharp enough, nor the suckers strong enough, to dig in to fiberglass or metal.

    Just my :twocents:, and like I said, I don't really understand the cavitation issue at all.
     
  3. Graeme

    Graeme Vampyroteuthis Registered

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    Yeah, that seems like some pretty sound thoughts. I think the chitin rings would act like a preliminary adhesion structure, contacting the prey and as you say, impaling it, giving the squid enough time to employ the sucker mechanism. Since squid use their suckers pretty much for prey capture only, they can afford to have very rigid structures. Squid use a kind of piston muscle to generate the negative pressure, which is a stronger mechanism than octopuses that just use a sort of 2 chambered suction cup. I'm not sure though. I was actually thinking about it being able to latch onto wooden ships using it's fairly large denticles, hey 2 great minds think alike, eh? I never thought about what you said in 3! For some reason it never crossed my mind that the sucker could slide along the surface of its prey, I am now kicking myself!

    Graeme
     
  4. bigGdelta

    bigGdelta Vampyroteuthis Supporter

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    Hey you forgot about the breath weapon.
     
  5. Graeme

    Graeme Vampyroteuthis Registered

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    uh? Breath weapon?? Is that not Gojira!?

    Graeme- Oh God, don't confuse me just now... please!
     
  6. chrono_war01

    chrono_war01 Colossal Squid Supporter

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    breath weapons as in what?
     
  7. Graeme

    Graeme Vampyroteuthis Registered

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    ask BigGDelta, he knows all about it:razz:

    Giant squids with lightning bolts coming from their mouths is just too weird for normal human comprehension! ee-gads! :shock:

    Graeme
     

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