Who Is King of the Squid?

Those of you who have read China Miéville’s Kraken will be aware that there is something of a debate amongst squid aficionados as to which tentacled monstrosity is the true king of the high seas. China sides with the Giant Squid (genus Architeuthis, of which there are several species), which is much bigger, and apparently much more dangerous, than the violent Humboldt Squid that terrorizes the California coast. The Colossal Squid (Mesonychoteuthis hamiltoni) is an even bigger animal, but is generally held to be a bit of a wuss as it is believed to be more of an ambush predator than a ferocious hunter.

Over at Deep Sea News Kevin Zelnio points to recent research that appears to back up the case against Mesonychoteuthis, but Zelnio isn’t convinced and points us to this article by Mara Grunbaum defending the big guy.

I think she may have a point. You know, the tiger is an ambush predator.

Update: Via Twitter PZ Myers suggests that the true King of Squid is the Blue-Ringed Octopus, which is very small in comparison but both beautiful and deadly. Note that I am not going to argue biological classification with Prof. Myers, but here’s some reference material about cephalopod orders.

12 thoughts on “Who Is King of the Squid?

  1. Oh bob and cheryl.
    It seems you haven’t actually sailed through the rough seas of the blogosphere. Obviously the king of the Squids is none other than the Predatorous Zapping Monster best known as PZ Myers.

  2. I really wonder that whenever I read about wildlife in Australia, unless it is a kangaroo or a koala, I always hear about how it is poisonous. *shudder*
    Probably just my imagination . . .

    Yes, the octopus wins. But still isn’t as cute as the pygmy slow loris, which is worthy of cute overload and yet also poisonous.

      1. Based on some videos I’ve seen, even kangaroos could be qualified as a “creature that has not enough legs”.

        1. Roos certainly can kill you if you annoy them. Even the little Eastern Greys (about my size) have Very Big Claws on their large and powerful legs. But by and large roos are friendly herbivores who won’t bother you unless you do something daft. The spiders, snakes, octopus, jellyfish and so on are just vicious.

          Mind you, if you’ve been watching Tank Girl I have to admit that there’s no telling what roos will evolve into.

          1. Somewhere in the remote Outback there is bound to be a Lost Kingdom that is Ruled by …

            “They didn’t hop. These were galloping kangaroos with big, powerful forelimbs and some had long canines like wolves.
            “You might have been looking for Skippy, but you would not have seen Skippy. You would have found his ancestor who would have ended up eating you while you were looking. So it was a very strange world.”


            Mind you even those Killer Roos might have had trouble with … ‘ The Lake Frome Monster ‘ …

            “When Eric Madstone was found dead near Bore Ten, just west of the Dingo-proof Fence, the first thought of those who discovered his body was that he might have been attacked by the rogue camel known as “The Lake Frome Monster”. ”


            The other day someone told me that there is a face-book page that is dedicated to ‘ Skippy The bush kangaroo ‘ I don’t find that this is all that improbable since I know that you can get a ring-tone message of the theme tune for ‘ Skippy The bush kangaroo ‘ and so anything is possible … including the Lost Kingdom of The Killer Roos.

  3. I suspect those big buggers that live in the River Moth near Ambergris are pretty powerful on the squidometer 🙂

  4. I have to plunk for Pfeffer’s Flamboyant Cuttlefish. They are quite small but quite poisonous and also the cutest cephalopod in existence.

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