Just how big is a giant squid? Not quite as big, perhaps, as you might think. This fabulous new graphic from the Deep Sea News crew and several other scientists represents *a lot* of research to find out the true largest sizes of 25 ocean creatures of giant repute. It appeared today to accompany an article detailing the data that went into it in the open-access journal PeerJ.

Click once embiggen or twice to enhugen:

Click to enlarge image. Click twice to make it even bigger. Matthew Maxwell and Pablo Alvarez Vinagre at StudioAM.

To collect their data, they consulted museum specimens, talked to curators, and even checked eBay for specimens for sale. The squid itself has long been stated on the internet to reach 60 feet in length. But thanks to McClain et al.'s efforts, we now know the largest reputable recorded size is closer to about 40 feet. Still huge. Just not as huge.

What really jumps out at me here though is *not * the somewhat smaller-than-expected size of the giant squid. It's the HUGE-ASS giant octopus! Dear lord! They can reach 32 feet across?? I had no idea. That's big enough to Jules-Verne a mini-sub, and *definitely* big enough to swallow me. Although if you've ever met me, you know I'm pretty snack-size for a variety of predatory creatures.

That the lion's mane jellyfish can reach blue-whale length is also rather breathtaking and unexpected.

You can read more about this graphic and the research that went into it here and here.


McClain CR, Balk MA, Benfield MC, Branch TA, Chen C, Cosgrove J, Dove ADM, Gaskins LC, Helm RR, Hochberg FG, Lee FB, Marshall A, McMurray SE, Schanche C, Stone SN, Thaler AD. (2015) Sizing ocean giants: patterns of intraspecific size variation in marine megafauna. PeerJ 2:e715 http://dx.doi.org/10.7717/peerj.715