A rare giant squid measuring eight metres (26 feet) in length and weighing in at more than 250 kilogrammes (550 pounds) has washed up on an Australian beach, scientists said Wednesday.

The massive sea monster was found on the island state of Tasmania late Tuesday by a member of the public near the town of Strahan, Tasmanian Museum invertebrate expert Genefor Walker-Smith said.

"It's a whopper," Walker-Smith said. "The main mantle of the squid is about one metre across and its total length is about eight metres.

"It's a very exciting discovery."

The giant squid, Architeuthis Dux, is one of the world's largest invertebrates, although little is known about the creatures because they live at depths of about a kilometre.

A group of Japanese zoologists made the first recording of a live giant squid in 2005, showing the animals were far faster and more active predators than previously thought.

The creatures are a legend among seafarers, the source of tales of tentacled monsters able to grab a ship and pull it down to its doom.


One memorably tried to engulf the submarine Nautilus in Jules Verne's classic science fiction novel "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea".

However, there is an even larger species called the colossal squid, a 450-kilogramme, 10-metre example of which was found on a New Zealand beach in March this year.

Tasmanian Museum curator David Pemberton said the Strahan giant squid may be preserved and displayed at the museum.

The squid measures about one metre across, meaning it could theoretically provide calamari rings the size of truck tyres.

But Walker-Smith said the squid was full of ammonia to aid buoyancy, making it unpalatable to all but sperm whales, its main predator.

"It would not taste very nice at all," she said.