WELLINGTON: New Zealand’s marine scientists were on Tuesday thawing the corpse of the largest squid ever caught, to try to unlock some of the secrets of one of the ocean’s most mysterious beasts.

The 495-kg, 8-metre long colossal squid was removed from its freezer on Monday and put into a tank filled with saline solution — the first step of a plan that will eventually put it on public display.

Ice was being added to the tank on Tuesday to slow down the thawing process so the outer flesh does not start rotting before the animal is fully defrosted, said Carol Diebel, director of natural environment at New Zealand’s national museum here, Te Papa Tongarewa.

New Zealand squid specialists Steve O’Shea and Kat Bolstad of Auckland’s University of Technology on Wednesday will begin a detailed examination of the creature, along with Tsunemi Kubodera of Japan’s National Museum of Nature and Science.

Ms. Diebel said the trio will examine the squid’s general anatomical features, take measurements, remove the stomach, beak and other mouth parts, take tissue samples for DNA analysis and determine the beast’s sex.

“If we get ourselves a male it will be the first reported [scientific] description of the male of the species,” Mr. O’Shea said.

The squid is believed to be the largest specimen of the rare and mysterious deep-water species Mesonychoteuthis hamiltoni, or colossal squid, ever caught, he added. — AP