Giant Squid vs Colossal Squid: What’s the Difference?

Written by August Buck
Updated: September 29, 2022
Image Credit Konstantin Novikov/Shutterstock.com
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When it comes to telling the difference between a giant squid vs colossal squid, what can you do in order to help with this? While both of these squid types are abnormally large, there are some key differences between them that you can use to tell them apart. That is the purpose of this article, and we will be addressing these differences in great detail. 

Read on to learn more about giant squids and colossal squids. Learn a lot about them, including their physical differences, habitat preferences, and where in the world you might find one in the wild, whether you are interested in that or not!

Comparing Giant Squid vs Colossal Squid

giant squid vs colossal squid
The colossal squid may be larger overall and weigh more than the giant squid, but giant squids often grow longer given their arm and tentacle length.

A-Z-Animals.com

Giant SquidColossal Squid
GenusArchiteuthidaeMesonychoteuthis
LocationAround the world, specifically the Atlantic and Pacific OceansSouthern Ocean and polar seas exclusively
HabitatDeep waters, often more than 1500 feet deep; while found in many oceans, they aren’t often found in tropical or polar seasOnly found in antarctic seas and habitats; so large that colossal squids are only found more than 3000 feet deep in the sea
Appearance8 arms, two long tentacles with suckers and teeth; huge eyes, long narrow body8 arms, two average tentacles with hooks used to catch prey; shorter and stout body, wider than giant squid 
Size40-50 feet in length; 300 kg weight30-40 feet in length; 500 kg weight

The Main Differences Between Giant Squid vs Colossal Squid

There are many key differences between a giant squid versus colossal squid. Not only are these two types of squids found in very different locations of the world, they do have some physical differences as well. For example, the colossal squid may be larger overall and weigh more than the giant squid, but giant squids often grow longer given their arm and tentacle length. 

But this is only where their differences begin. Let’s dive in and learn more about these two beasts in more detail. 

giant squid vs colossal squid
Colossal squids weigh much more than giant squids do, often exceeding 500 kg when compared to a 300 kg giant squid.

Giant Squid vs Colossal Squid: Size 

One of the key differences between giant squids and colossal squids has to do with their size. While giant squids are technically longer in length than colossal squids, colossal squids weigh more given the size of their mantle and body. Giant squids only beat colossal squids in length because of their arms and tentacles. 

You may think such colossal squids are larger in every way from giant squids, but this is technically untrue. However, colossal squids weigh much more than giant squids do, often exceeding 500 kg when compared to a 300 kg giant squid. This size difference is enough to prompt a different species classification for colossal squid, especially when compared to giant squids. 

Giant Squid vs Colossal Squid: Location Found

giant squid vs colossal squid
Giant squids are often found in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, while colossal squids are only found around Antarctica.

demamiel62/Shutterstock.com

Another key difference between a giant squid vs colossal squid lies in the location in which they prefer to live. While both of these creatures are exceedingly rare and prefer to live at deep depths, colossal squids are only found in southern seas while giant squids are found around the world. Giant squids are often found in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, while colossal squids are only found around Antarctica

Giant Squid vs Colossal Squid: Habitat

Giant squids and colossal squids are found in very different locations in the world. They prefer different habitats. For example, giant squids are found around the world while colossal squids are only found in southern seas, but even giant squids are rarely found in extreme temperature waters.

It’s obvious that colossal squids are comfortable living in cold or frozen seas, given that they are commonly found around Antarctica and Antarctica only. Giant squids are found in the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. However, they are rarely found in extremely cold or extremely warm Seas. They enjoy a temperate environment, and both squids are found at deep depths. However, colossal squids are often found at depths of more than 3,000 feet, while giant squids can be found at 1,000 feet deep. 

giant squid vs colossal squid
Giant squids often measure anywhere from 40 to 50 feet in length from the top of their heads to the end of their tentacles, while colossal squids measure an average of 30 to 40 feet in length.

Rui Palma/Shutterstock.com

Giant Squid vs Colossal Squid: Appearance

Another difference between giant squid vs colossal squids lies in their overall appearance. You may have previously thought that colossal squids are larger than giant squids, and you aren’t technically wrong. However, giant squids are longer than colossal squids because of their tentacles and arms, while colossal squids far outweigh giant squids because of their large bodies.

For example, giant squids often measure anywhere from 40 to 50 feet in length from the top of their heads to the end of their tentacles, while colossal squids measure an average of 30 to 40 feet in length. With this in mind, it may surprise you to hear that colossal squids outweigh giant squids by close to 200 kg on average. This is because their body is larger and more dense than the body of giant squids. 

Giant squid vs colossal squidcolossal squids are often found at depths of more than 3,000 feet, while giant squids can be found at 1,000 feet deep.
Colossal squids are often found at depths of more than 3,000 feet, while giant squids can be found at 1,000 feet deep.

sciencepics/Shutterstock.com

Giant Squid vs Colossal Squid: Species

A final difference between giant squid versus colossal squid to something we have already touched down, and that is their species classification. Giant squids are members of the Architeuthidae family, while colossal squids are members of the Mesonychoteuthis family. Both of these animals are still largely undiscovered and unexplored. Let’s talk more about what that means now.
There is a lot of debate regarding how many species of giant squid there actually are, as some scientists believe they could all be of the same species, While others believe there are more than a dozen. However, one thing is sure: there is only one species of colossal squid, which is why it has its very own species classification.

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About the Author

I am a non-binary freelance writer working full-time in Oregon. Graduating Southern Oregon University with a BFA in Theatre and a specialization in creative writing, I have an invested interest in a variety of topics, particularly Pacific Northwest history. When I'm not writing personally or professionally, you can find me camping along the Oregon coast with my high school sweetheart and Chihuahua mix, or in my home kitchen, perfecting recipes in a gleaming cast iron skillet.

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