The baseline Architeuthis harveyi (Order Teuthoida, Family Architeuthidae) is the giant squid of Earth. It is the largest post-Mesozoic baseline invertebrate, and inhabits a bathypelagic environment. It has the largest eyes of any Cenozoic animal (only some ichthyosaurs had bigger eyes), reaching up to 25 cm in diameter. Specimens may reach 17.5 meters in length (including the tentacles), and weigh 900 kg or more. It is preyed on by sperm whales. Even more so that other terragen life, there is a lack of information on the current status of Architeuthis on Earth, due to the species deep ocean habitat.

A number of attempts at Architeuthis provolution were made during the early Federation period by hobbyists and venture bionano microcorporations, using public domain genome templates. These culminated in Protein NeoPhil21's much lauded Architeuthis spatialis, a space-adapted form with symbiotic biotech, and several centuries later Celeste Genetics Architeuthis faber and the Genen "Mollusc Boyz" Architeuthis molluscboisgeneni. By the early Empires age there were no less than a dozen known species, and quite likely more among hider communities. Especially since species like A. molluscboisgeneni and A. neosuperior were optimized for high cladization, the number of new forms was quite large. Some, like Cosmoarchiteuthis cosmoi were completely optimized for vacuum- existence, being fully cyborgized self-replicating bioships.

Like many cephalopod provolves, the augmented and provolved architeuthids found it difficult being around vertebrate intelligence. While some became traders in exotics, water sculpture artisans, and navigation template engineers, others disappeared for the outer regions. A large body of myth and urban folklore has developed around these free-ranging super-architeuthids, especially the larger and more derived cosmoarchiteuthines, some of which are said to reach the size of sub-relativistic freight-haulers. Most authorities agree that the so called Kraken is a clever memetic ploy on the part of the Jonny Lysozome's World Tourist Committee (but for a dissenting opinion see Charlie Dan Starfish's Review of the Larger SuperSquid of the Inner Perseus Arm)
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Text by M. Alan Kazlev

Initially published on 07 October 2001.