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RAROTONGA, Cook Islands (Cook Islands News, Nov. 23) – A large squid found floating near Rarotonga last weekend has got the experts scratching their heads.

On Saturday morning Don Beer Jr found the monster floating about 11km west of Rarotonga. It was dead and had a couple of seabirds standing on it.

Beer pulled the muscular squid aboard and phoned resident naturalist Gerald McCormack to meet his boat at the wharf.

McCormack describes the squid as very muscular and 140 centimeters [4.5 feet] in total length. He sent photographs to squid expert Steve O’Shea of Auckland University of Technology, who concluded that it was in the family of hooked squids, a little known family of oceanic squid.

It was not possible to identify the species, and it might be a new species. The specimen has been frozen and will be sent to O’Shea for further study.

Squid are the swimming relatives of octopuses. Octopuses, especially the Daytime Octopus, are commonly seen and are a popular food. They are known as ‘eke. In contrast squid are less well-known. Their traditional name is mu-’eke.

December 1, 2005

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