The closest thing to a real sea monster to be pulled from the ocean's depths is to be dissected by scientists at Te Papa museum tomorrow.
The 10m-long, 495kg colossal squid, caught by longliner San Aspiring in the Ross Sea in February last year, has been kept on ice.
The squid was removed from the freezer yesterday afternoon, and will be subject to a detailed examination of its general anatomical features tomorrow.
It will be examined by Auckland University of Technology scientists Steve O'Shea and Kat Bolstad, both world leaders in the study of squid.
They will be assisted by Tsunemi Kubodera of Japan's National Museum of Nature and Science.
The scientists will take measurements, remove the squid's mouthparts, its stomach and stomach contents and determine its sex.
The squid will then be preserved and, later this year, put on display at the museum.
Also being thawed and examined by the Te Papa team this week are a smaller colossal squid caught in 2003, and two giant squid.
Colossal squid are found in Antarctic waters, and are not related to the smaller giant squid found near New Zealand's coast.
The dissection is being broadcast live on Te Papa's website and will also be filmed by Natural History New Zealand for a Discovery Channel documentary.