Journal Article

  • The Giant Squid, Architeuthis dux Steenstrup, 1857 (Mollusca: Cephalopoda): The Making of an Iconic Specimen
    Jonathan Ablett
    NatSCA News, Issue 23, pages 16 - 20

    In 2004 the Natural History Museum, London (NHM) acquired an 8.62m long specimen of the giant squid Architeuthis dux Steenstrup, 1857. Complete giant squid are rare in museum collections and the chance to obtain a live-caught specimen with the potential for molecular analysis was an amazing opportunity. Also it was, and still is, the largest fluid preserved specimen at the NHM and although the preservation and storage presented numerous challenges, the squid’s public appeal as well as its scientific value has exceeded all expectations. I aim to show here the importance of such a specimen for the Museum collection, the difficulties met and overcome in all stages of its curation, as well as the numerous ways in which the squid has been used. These include such areas as education, the arts, exhibition, fund raising and public outreach, and its importance for the cephalopod research community.