Is the giant squid the new giant panda?

Can a 13-metre long beastie, all tentacles and suckers, be a conservation icon for our time.

Scientists are proposing that the giant squid Architeuthis be emblemised and celebrated to help promote the conservation of marine diversity.

The giant squid would become the giant panda of the seas; a single species that captures the imagination, and stands for the world in which it lives.

It would become a rallying point for those seeking to protect life under the waves, the fish and the whales, the corals and crustaceans, an abundance of marine invertebrates and creatures we perhaps have yet to discover.

It could even become a marketing tool, a brand, a philosophy.

Rather than have to make complex arguments about marine food webs, carrying capacities, life histories and bycatch, people could support the saving of the seas by wearing a giant squid badge, while giant inflatable squids could be blown up at events designed to raise marine conservation funds. Anyone fancy running a marathon in a squid costume trailing eight arms and two 10-metre long tentacles?