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NZ fishermen hook 'biggest ever' squid

10-metre, 450kg colossus

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New Zealand fishermen have landed what experts reckon might be the biggest squid ever snared - a 10-metre-long, 450kg example of "colossal" Mesonychoteuthis hamiltoni.

The behemoth was captured in Antarctic waters after a two-hour battle. The species can grow to a similar length to the giant Architeuthis, an example of which fell prey to Japanese scientists last December, but is much bulkier.

Mesonychoteuthis hamiltoni was first identified in 1925, the BBC notes, and has since proved elusive. Back in 2004, a 150kg immature female was hooked on the surface in Antarctica's Ross Sea - the first specimen landed intact.

The fisherman were hunting Patagonian toothfish when they encountered the beast, which was itself dining on the same. NZ Fisheries Minister Jim Anderton reported: "The squid was almost dead when it reached the surface, and the careful work of the crew was paramount in getting this specimen aboard in good condition."

The frozen colossus is now back in New Zealand for scientific probing. Steve O'Shea from Auckland's University of Technology enthused: "I can assure you that this is going to draw phenomenal interest. It is truly amazing." ®

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