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Humboldt Squid stomach contents


Sep 10, 2007
This morning we dissected a Humboldt Squid that has been frozen since it was taken in Monterey Bay a few months ago. It was a spectacular beast, as they all are. But this one had some structures inside its stomach that have me stumped. The image here is the best we could muster with an iphone.
Each strand is the same length, about 5cm. The end of each is rounded and the thickest part. Near the middle of each strand is one spiral coil. Closer to the base the strand becomes more narrow until it tangles with the others. The strands are together where the image appears whitest but they do not seem attached to each other. Individual strands are easy to disentangle. Each strand is crystal clear and is firmer than mesoglea: they a have the spring of heavy monofilament line.
Very little else was inside the stomach other than some likely small squid eye lenses.
We are guessing this is part of some worm mouth parts? Our chem teacher guessed pogonphorans? I am at a loss.
any ideas?
Greg McBride Aptos High School
I have attached the image



Colossal Squid
Oct 7, 2004
Looks like fresh shark's fin cartilage.


Staff member
Nov 19, 2002
Those are definitely spermatophores, or perhaps empty spermatophore tunics (they look pretty clear, as you say). I'm sure you have dissected squid before, and the mention of 'probable eye lenses' also suggests that this could indeed have been the digestive system, but... are you sure? The Needham's sac (in which the spermatophores are stored after production) is a long, fat organ (in mature males) that could conceivably be mistaken for the also long, fat (when full) stomach caecum. I ask because the sac would be a much likelier place for this number of spermatophores, especially given that they are still intact, not chewed.

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