The Giant Squid

Shannon Rossi

Integumentary System

The body of the giant squid is composed of a mantle, eight legs, and two longer arms. The mantle is around six and a half feet in length. Most of the animals length comes from the arms and the legs. Lining the length of the tentacles and arms are suction cups. The suction cups can range in size from one to two inches in diameter. Each cup is surrounded by serated edges which helps the animal to hold on to its prey. The upper mantle has small fins which help the animal to move through the water, but the main source that helps movement is its jet propulsion. The animal moves through the water quickly by taking water into the mantle cavity and then casting it out with a large amount of force.

Skeletal System

The Giant Squid is a invertebrate. The Skeletal System of the giant squid mainly consists of the gladius, or pen, which is like a internal shell. The gladius supports the squid's body by running through the upper space of the mantle between the fins. The gladius is made up of chitlin, which is protective, tough, and semi transparent.

Muscular System

When a giant squid is eating, there are muscles located in the arms that contract and bring the food the beak, or mouth, of the squid. One of the more important muscles in a squid is the funnel, or siphon. The functions of the funnel include respiration, waste removal, and help in movement. A giant squid moves by taking in water as the mantle expands and water moves through the mantle cavity, there oxygen is taken in through gills. When the mantle contracts, water squirts out quickly through the funnel and the squid is propelled forward.
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Nervous System

The Giant Squid as well as other cephalopods have very complex nervous systems and brains even though they are invertebrates. The Giant Squid also has great eye sight, with the eyes sometimes being the size of dinner plates. The brain is split into three parts; two optic lobes and a center ganglion. The optic lobes are located with one behind each eye looking off white/yellow and fleshy. The center ganglion is located in the middle between the eyes. The center ganglion is a collection of soft nerve tissue that surrounds the esophagus. The lens on the eyes are like our in function because they are also used to focus light. Optic nerves run along the back of the eye. In this way the eye is different from ours because our optic nerves can cover some of our photoreceptors which creates a blind spot but the squids are arranged in such a way that this does not happen so there is no blind spot. The Giant Squid also has a stellate ganglia which is a collection of nerves spread in a sea star shape. The nerve are part of the distributed nervous system that helps the squid to contract the mantle.
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The stellate ganglia.

Respiratory System

The Giant Squid's respiratory system is made up the three main parts of the mantle, gills, and the funnel. Water first comes in the mantle containing oxygen. From there the water travels to the squid's gills where the oxygen is kept while the carbon dioxide and water are pushed out of the body through the funnel, also causing the animal to move.

Circulatory System

The Giant Squid has a total of three hearts; a central heart and two branchial hearts. The branchial hearts pump blood to the gills. When the carbon dioxide exits the body through the water the oxygen is picked up. From there, it is drained back to the central heart that pumps oxygen rich blood back out to the body. The Giant Squid has blue blood. Their blood is blue because of the hemocyanin. Hemocyanin is a blue protein that contains copper that binds to the oxygen.
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Digestive and Excretory System

The digestive system of the giant squid begins when the animal gets its food. Many hunt for their prey and once they grasp it muscles in the arms contract to bring the food to the beak. The beak is hard and helps to tear the food for easier consumption. Inside of the beak is the radula which acts like a tongue with teeth. The teeth act as a sharks would; replacing themselves with their many layers underneath those exposed on top. The digestive system itself is looped. Once the finer pieces of food pass over the radula they begin the journey through the digestive tract which looks like a tube structure. Along the tract there are other accessory digestive organs. From the radula food travels through a hole in the squids brain (which is why pieces must be small to not damage the brain). The tongue continues to push the ground food through the throat and to the esophagus. The esophagus releases saliva which mixes with the food. The food continues movement and liquids from the liver also join the food. The esophagus later connects to the stomach which looks like a white sac. In the stomach digestion begins with the help of digestive enzymes. Food and liquids from the pancreas enter the pouch of the stomach called the caecum. Food moves to the intestine from the caecum and in the intestine moves through the rest of the mantle cavity. The intestine becomes the rectum and then the anus. The anus connects to the funnel where the waste connects with the water and carbon dioxide for jet propulsion and movement.

Reproduction System

The reproduction system for the female giant squid begins with up to 1,000's of eggs being extruded into the mantle cavity. The squid then begins to secrete a jelly and the eggs and jelly will bind together inside of the mantle cavity. The mantle then contracts and the jelly and eggs are squeezed out as one large ball. The arms take the ball and will cradle it. The male reproduction system begins with the males penis being inside of the mantle. When ready to reproduce the penis will hang outside of the cavity. The male and female will come together beak to beak and from there the male will begin to stab his penis into the female's arm. The sperm from the penis will be deeply and directly injected into the arm muscles. The egg and jelly mass that the female is cradling will meet with the sperm in and on the arms. The meeting will cause the mass to come alive and the egg mass is then released. Where the egg and sperm met becomes filled with water and expands the eggs will then hatch in roughly three weeks. Once the female has the babies she will die. Once dead her body will sink to the bottom of the water and the food chain will continue.
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Egg and Jelly Sac

Extra Note

When doing my bibliographies I pasted them into a Word Document and applied a hanging indent but when it came time to paste it back into the smore, the indent would not stay. I'm not sure why but it just isn't staying.

Works Cited

The Integumentary System

Giant Squid. Sea Sky, 1998. Web. 23 Sept. 2014. <>.

The Skeletal And Muscular System

Meglitsh, Paul A. "Science Explorations: Investigate the Giant Squid: Squid |" Science Explorations: Investigate the Giant Squid: Squid |, n.d. Web. 07 Oct le.asp?ItemID=215&SubjectID=126&categoryID=5

"Watch Now: Inside Nature's Giants | Giant Squid |." PBS Video. PBS, 20 June 2012. Web. 07 Oct. 2014. <>.

The Nervous System

Mori, K. "The Cellular Scale: How Big Is the GIANT Squid Giant Axon?" The Cellular Scale: How Big Is the GIANT Squid Giant Axon? The Cellular Scale, 2013. Web. 30 Oct. 2014. <>.

Hopkins Marine Station. "Squid Brains, Eyes, and Color." Squid Brains, Eyes, and Color. Squids4Kids, n.d. Web. 30 Oct. 2014. <>.

The Respiratory System

Tschibelu, Evelyne. "Squid Body Plan." Squid Body Plan. N.p., 2001. Web. 19 Nov. 2014. <>.

The Circulatory System

Kelly, Dennis W. "Cephalopods - National Zoo." Cephalopods - National Zoo. National Zoological Park, n.d. Web. 30 Nov. 2014. <>.

The Digestive and Excretory System

Csanyi, Carolyn. "What Kind of Digestive System Do Squids Have? | The Classroom | Synonym." The Classroom. Synonym, n.d. Web. 30 Nov. 2014. <>.

The Reproduction System

"Watch Now: Inside Nature's Giants | Giant Squid |." PBS Video. PBS, 20 June 2012. Web. 07 Oct. 2014. <>.