whale eating a squidInvestigators from the Society for Cetacean Study have scored an historic first in waters off south Tenerife by filming a whale eating a giant squid..

Such scenes have never been captured on film before and they were obtained in an area where a deep underwater ravine exists in which it is believed the giant squids live and breed.

Vidal Martín, president of the society, said the observation was made in June when he and a team of researchers were watching a group of pilot whales. They were astonished to see one of the animals emerge from the water and appear to “jump about”.

“We looked hard and saw a tentacle of a squid hanging from its mouth and there were other pieces of squid stuck to the whale’s body. It made a number of brusque movements on its side in the water to free the tentacle to eat it – and there we were filming and photographing it all.”

He reckoned the squid could have been some five metres long, a comparatively modest size for the species. Examples have been found which reach 20 metres in length and weigh in at a thousand kilos!

On the sea’s surface in this same area it is quite common to see dead giant squids, some half eaten and bearing teeth marks. In one recent episode there were a number of whales nearby.

“We thought the squid was already dead and the whales were just playing with it,” said Sr Martín. “But now the pieces of the jigsaw are beginning to fit.”
He explained that pilot whales dive time and time again between brief five minute rests, submerging at a speed of 2 to 3 metres a second.

It is known that they can dive as deep as 1,200 metres without any problem though the average submersion reaches depths of around 800 to 900 metres. Unlike other whale species they dive down and swim back up at speed, staying down for no more than 22 minutes at a time.

As for the giant squids that inhabit that fascinating abyss in the straits between Tenerife and La Gomera, little is known about them and they remain very much a mystery for the present. Over recent years a number of expeditions have undertaken dives in search of them but they have met with little success.
But then again, as Vidal Martín says, neither is much known about the deepest depths of the submarine landscape that surrounds us.

Source: Tenerife News