Special Sub-Topic: Squid Pro Quo
|There are, in this wild and weird world of ours, some really huge squid. Which fact about these monster squid ISN'T true?|
Giant Squid (Architeuthis dux) can reach lengths of 120 feet.. Alas, the reports of enormously long giant squid were reached by taking the squid's tentacles and stretching them like rubber bands. While the details of squid measurement are complicated, suffice it to say that the lengths of both the giant squid (Architeuthis dux) and the colossal squid (Mesonychoteuthis hamiltoni) are comparable to a school bus. While a giant squid or a colossal squid would give you calamari rings the size of tractor tires, their tissue is high in ammonia, which is why they'd taste like floor cleaner. This doesn't stop giant squid from cannibalism...squid stomach contents are finely minced, but the soup is rich in giant squid DNA. Speaking of sushi, most kids' science books show the giant squid locked in mortal combat with its arch-nemesis, the sperm whale. In fact, a giant squid once tried to attack the Norwegian ship The Brunswick. The squid would pace the ship, then turn and try to wrap its tentacles around it. But the ship was slippery, and the squid wound up in the ship's propellers.
|There is actually a difference between "squid" and "cuttlefish."|
True. Cuttlefish are solitary and have a "cuttlebone," made out of calcium carbonate, which supports the internal structure of the animal. Squid are gregarious and lack a cuttlebone. So there.
|Out of this list of animals, which is the squid most closely related to?|
Snail. Squid are molluscs. Mollusca is a large and diverse group, containing our friends the squid, as well as octopuses/octopi/octopodes, nautiluses/nautoli, clams, mussels, and snails.
|Approximately how many species of squid are there?|
650. That seems like a lot of squid, but, for comparison, there are 300 species of parrots, and 6,500 species of corals and sea anemonies.
|The Giant Squid has the biggest eyes of any animal.|
True. They are the size of dinner plates. That is most impressive. Whales and such have relatively small eyes, and rely more on their other senses for navigation. The big sauropod dinosaurs had fairly small skulls-- I could hold one comfortably in one hand-- and hence, small eyes.
|Which class are squid a member of?|
Cephalopoda. The class also includes octopuses and cuttlefish. "Cephalopoda" means "head-footed." I suppose that is because the tentacles of octopuses and squid seem to be attached directly to their heads.
|These squid-like organisms flourished during the Paleozoic and Mesozoic, but, just like the dinosaurs, went extinct at the end of the Cretaceous.|
Belemnites. On their tentacles, instead of suckers, belemnites had hooks. Vicious. Belemnites also had a bullet-shaped internal structure like a cuttlefish. It was made out of calcite, and so preserved readily. Sometimes you can find limestone where most of the bulk of the rock consists of belemnite parts.
|From what language comes the word "Squid"?|
Not Really Sure. Perhaps it comes from the word "squirt." I think that explanation is rather silly. By the way, the Greek and Latin word for squid was "sepia." I have sent my Old English expert friend on a hunt for Old English squid. Stay tuned.
|Species of squid are still being discovered. One recently-discovered squid was named the "Vampire Squid."|
True. It lives in the deep ocean. It is dark red with blue eyes. The lower parts of its tentacles are connected by a membrane. It turns itself "inside out" by spreading the tentacle-membrane over its body. Most squid squirt ink when threatened. The Vampire Squid squirts out some sort of glowing liquid. See a video of it here: http://www.mbari.org/midwater/vamp/RaskoffBiolumArms2.mpg What is it for? Defense, maybe? A Current Topic in Squid Research!
|As cow, pig, and chicken have been transmogrified into the more-edible-sounding beef, pork, and poultry, so too with our friend the squid. What would one call squid, if it were to appear on a menu?|
Calamari. Whence cometh the word "calamari"? Best I can tell, it comes from the Latin "calamarus," meaning a reed pencil. Perhaps this referred to the shape of the animal. Perhaps this is not the true etymology at all. Something to ponder over your next cup of squid-ink colored coffee.
|The ink in old photos is sort of a brownish color. This is called "sepia." What does this have to do with squid?|
Sepia is the word for squid ink.. Apparently the squid ink came to be known as a color because it was used as real ink, and the color sort of caught on. O temporae! O mores! Think of it-- the sacrifice of poor, innocent squiddies just so kids could do their homework.
|This artist is known (not very well, apparently, but known) for taking famous paintings by other artists and endowing the most prominent figures with big, red, goofy squid suits. |
Eberhard. Favorite titles? "My Squid Suit Brings Isolation" (after Christina's World), "My Squid Suit Brings Development of Character," and "My Squid Suit Brings Eros and More Eros." Gee, I wish MY squid suit brought ME some Eros!
|With the most recent set of Mars rovers, the NASA engineers were very concerned about squidding. What, pray tell, were they afraid of?|
The parachute not opening properly. According to the JPL website, "When the team built and tested smaller chutes in a wind tunnel at NASA's Ames Research Center, the chutes failed to open. Instead, the chutes fluttered in mid-air in a phenomenon known as 'squidding' - reminiscent of the fluttering of a squid's fins as it swims through water." That does sound serious.
|One award for cartooning is named after this nonexistent cartoon character, an accidental mistype of "Suicide Squad."|
Suicide Squid. You can read all about the nonexistent adventures of Suicide Squid. The official Suicide Squid t-shirts show Squiddie trying to commit suicide in several ways-- sleeping pills, a knife to the, uh, wrist, fork in the toaster, noose around the, uh, neck, among other things. Just remember: "The seaweed of crime bears bitter sushi."
|One more squid-related question, before I go. It should be apparent from the content of my quiz that the squid is a colorful character. But is it true that squid can actually change colors?|
Yes. Squid change color by changing the relative size of pigmented spots in their skin, called chromatophores. Color-changing is primarily for defense, communication, and camouflage.
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