Tentacle Strength

Danny Carr

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#1
As a kid I was thrilled by stories and drawings of sailors being pulled overboard by giant squid and octopi.

Assuming you had a big enough creature, say a 13m colossal squid, would it be strong enough to pull a sailor from the deck of a boat and drag him underwater?

I expect to be disappointed.

Danny
 

Tintenfisch

Architeuthis
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#3
Wellll... the conventional giant squid, Architeuthis dux, won't be found anywhere near the surface in the adult stage, at least not living - so there'd be no chance for such encounters. Plus, Archi seems to be a pretty passive animal, not really suited to speed, aggression, or much of anything worth making a horror movie about. Anything it catches with intent to eat will have to be chopped into relatively small pieces (to fit through the 1cm-diameter esophagus, which passes through the brain) by a beak made of considerably weaker material than wet human fingernails.
So... not Archi, in any case.
Now, if you were to fall into the water next to an angry Mesonychoteuthis hamiltoni (see the Tentarcticles thread and Breaking News: Colossal Squid), you'd be shredded. It's a strong animal, with eight hook-bearing arms and two hook-bearing tentacles, and while those arms/tentacles are unlikely to seek prey above the water (though it will do so anywhere from 2400 meters' depth to the very surface), if it finds you in its environment while it's hungry, and if the temperature doesn't dispatch you first, I'd say you're toast. Again, it's going to have to slice its prey into swallowable pieces (esophagus ~1.5 cm diamter) but the scratching/tearing/slicing/rasping experience certainly isn't going to be much fun.

:meso:
 

Danny Carr

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#4
scratching/tearing/slicing/rasping

Thanks Tintenfisch for your reply (I particularly enjoyed the graphic description of how a colossal squid would reduce a person to bite-sized pieces).

Is there any evidence of squid or octopi reaching for things from above water when they themselves are beneath the surface. Presumably there are plenty of octopi in captivity who might have done this.

To establish if a colossal squid could physically remove someone from the deck of a boat, perhaps a comparison could be made with the maximum weight liftable by an octopus.

Having said all this, I suppose squid probably aren't that inclined towards removing people from boats.

Anyway, I can dream.

Danny
 

diveseen.com

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#5
I was diving in BC last year and came across a small GPO (couldn't have possibly weighed 10 pounds) on a drift dive. I allowed it to touch my glove, which it grasped, gently at first and then firmly.

I was drifting in a 2 knot current and let go of the portion of the rock wall I was holding, and this little octo was able to hold me in place with what appeared to be no great effort on its part.

I have been climbed by a larger GPO before, but never pulled into a den (actually I think that would be a pretty cool story to tell). But I feel certain that a good sized GPO would pretty much have its way with me underwater, at least in a wrestling match.

So, IMO, GPOs are what I would consider very strong in an underwater environment. Of course, such encounters where I am actually touched/grabbed are very rare and I consider them an extraordinary treat... so given how reclusive a GPO is, I can't imagine it intentionally grabbing for a person at the surface.

Not that any of this has anything to do with a Colossal Squid. :)

I have read some strange (and some dubious) reports of intentional encounters with the Humbolt squid by divers in the Baja area. If the reports of those critters' behavior are anywhere near accurate, they are frightening indeed.

I have been in the water with a pod of 20 orcas, which I would consider the apex predator of the known ocean, and never felt the least bit scared. I hope to dive with great whites sometime as well. But if the reports are true, I wouldn't want to be anywhere near the humboldt squid. I am guessing, based on the "weapons" and the reports I have read here, that the Colossal squid would be an order of magnitude more terrifying. :biggrin2:

-david
 

WhiteKiboko

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#6
you might want to look around on other threads.... i know tani had a bit of info on the humboldts... as for the GPOs, you are afterall in their world, so i think everyone would be at a disadvantage against a determined dofleini...
 

ceph

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#7
Re: Tentacle Strength

Danny Carr said:
Assuming you had a big enough creature, say a 13m colossal squid, would it be strong enough to pull a sailor from the deck of a boat and drag him underwater?

I expect to be disappointed.

Danny
Small near shore octopuses are very strong and can easily lift their weight and more out of the water as well as grab things and pull them with considerable strength. We have had some with Lego ships, corks and other items in the lab. I've recently read a paper that demonstrates that at sea level the suckers fail due to cavitation. With increasing pressure cavitation is less of a problem but most deep-sea cephalopods are weak. less active low energy animals, possibly due to ecological reasons.
 

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