Never-before-seen images are part of a Discovery Channel documentary on the largest creatures of the deepest oceans.
Scientists and broadcasters have captured footage of
an elusive giant squid, up to eight meters (26 feet) long that roams
the depths of the Pacific Ocean.
Japan's National Science Museum
succeeded in filming the deep-sea creature in its natural habitat for
the first time, working with Japanese public broadcaster NHK and the US
The massive invertebrate is the stuff of
legend, with sightings of a huge ocean-dwelling beast reported by
sailors for centuries.
The creature is thought to be the genesis
of the Nordic legend of Kraken, a sea monster believed to have attacked
ships in waters off Scandinavia over the last millennium.
scientists on their own Moby Dick-style search used a submersible to
get them into the dark and cold depths of the northern Pacific Ocean,
where at around 630 meters they managed to film a three-meter specimen.
Credit: Discovery Channel
around 100 missions, during which they spent 400 hours in the cramped
submarine, the three-man crew tracked the creature from a spot some 15
kilometers (nine miles) east of Chichi island in the north Pacific
Museum researcher Tsunemi Kubodera said they followed the
enormous mollusc to a depth of 900 meters as it swam into the ocean
NHK showed footage of the silver-colored creature, which
had huge black eyes, as it swam against the current, holding a bait
squid in its arms.
For Kubodera it was the culmination of a lengthy quest for the beast.
was shining and so beautiful," Kubodera told AFP. "I was so thrilled
when I saw it first hand, but I was confident we would because we
rigorously researched the areas we might find it, based on past data."
said the creature had its two longest arms missing, and estimated it
would have been eight meters long if it had been whole. He gave no
explanation for its missing arms.
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He said it was the first video
footage of a live giant squid in its natural habitat — the depths of
the sea where there is little oxygen and the weight of the water above
exerts enormous pressure.
Kubodera, a squid specialist, also
filmed what he says was the first live video footage of a giant squid in
2006, but only from his boat after it was hooked and brought up to the
"Researchers around the world have tried to film giant
squid in their natural habitats, but all attempts were in vain before,"
"With this footage we hope to discover more about
the life of the species," he said, adding that he planned to publish his
Kubodera said the two successful sightings of the
squid — in 2012 and 2006 — were both in the same area, some 1,000
kilometres south of Tokyo, suggesting it could be a major habitat for
The giant squid, "Architeuthis" to scientists, is
sometimes described as one of the last mysteries of the ocean, being
part of a world so hostile to humans that it has been little explored.
say Architeuthis eats other types of squid and grenadier, a species of
fish that lives in the deep ocean. They say it can grow to be longer
than 10 meters.
Discovery Channel’s Monster Squid: The Giant Is Real, premieres on Sunday, Jan. 27 at 10/9c as the season finale of Curiosity.