Clyde Roper Can’t Wait to Be Attacked by a Giant Squid

After studying (and eating) smaller squid for years, the Smithsonian’s cephalopod man is now ready to face the biggest calamari of all

giant squid
Wikimedia Commons

In November the zoologist will lead an expedition in search of one of the last great "monsters" of the sea, the giant squid. Although these cousins of the octopus have been found dead in fishermen's nets, nobody has ever seen one alive in its natural setting, 500 fathoms down. That is what Roper aims to do.

Given its size, the creature should be hard to miss. It grows to a length of 60 feet (nearly twice as long as a school bus) and it has eyes as large as hubcaps. In addition to its eight arms, it has two long tentacles ending in sucker-like clubs, which it lashes out to seize prey. What if one of these behemoths attacks Roper's bubble-fronted submersible while he is in it? "Wouldn't it be great to see?" he exclaims, adding that he would radio up to the mother ship: "Hey, we have a friend on board."

Get the latest Science stories in your inbox.