While I was in Wellington, Becs and I were treated to a special preview of the Colossal Squid exhibit (it wasn't due to open to the public until two days after I left Welly). Manager of Communications, Jane Keig kindly showed us around - during all the chaos!
The three-tonne tank is located below the seabird exhibit and next to the marine mammals area at the museum. Here's a factbox on 'Squidgy'.
She is an adolescent female - as she had immature eggs.
She was 4.2m long and shrunk by 1/3 during the thaw.
No-one has ever seen a male colossal squid.
John Bennett - the skipper on the boat that caught her in the Ross Sea - gifted her to Te Papa.
She is the only colossal to have made it to a museum with her eye intact. The eye is 27cm in diameter - the largest of any animal.
She arrived at the surface clinging to a Toothfish which was attached to a longline, at a depth of some 1800m. Scientists are not sure why she didn't let go but one theory is that female squid may be a little weak / less aware as they get to reproducing age.
She weighs half a tonne.
She has two arms and 8 tentacles. At the end of her arms are a number of 'swivvle hooks' which can turn 360 degrees to 'lock' in her prey.
Marks from these hooks have been found on sperm whales - they are the prey of sperm whales.
She will be on show at Te Papa for three years and then become their largest archive item! Te Papa has a '100 year preservation ethos'
Her body is delicate and apparently feels like you're touching butter though she's firm around her tentacles.
Her stomach was empty.
Approximately 1.3 million visitors will see her during her first year at the museum.
You can age a Colossal by examining the bones in their head.
Squidgy is preserved in 2300 litres of Glycol.
When scientists examined her, they were not allowed to disect - they could only 'go in' where holes had already been made.
Other museums across the world are watching Te Papa as this is the first time this has been done!
Photos by Jane Keig / Te Papa
Becs and I also got to see a 3D animation about how Squidgy might have lived and died.
Seriously recommend paying her a visit! And thanks again to Jane and Te Papa for accommodating us!