Giant Squid Photographed for First Time
TOKYO - The giant squid can be found in books and in myths, but for the first time, a team of Japanese scientists has captured on film one of the most mysterious creatures of the deep sea in its natural habitat.
The team led by Tsunemi Kubodera, from the National Science Museum in Tokyo, tracked the 26-foot long Architeuthis as it attacked prey nearly 3,000 feet deep off the coast of Japan's Bonin islands.
"We believe this is the first time a grown giant squid has been captured on camera in its natural habitat," said Kyoichi Mori, a marine researcher who co-authored a piece in Wednesday's issue of the Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences.
Twenty-six feet long. Mama mia. And it's probably not even full grown. And if that's not enough to give you the creeping horrors:
Mori said the giant squid, purplish red like its smaller brethren, attacked its quarry aggressively, calling into question the image of the animal as lethargic and slow moving.
"Contrary to belief that the giant squid is relatively inactive, the squid we captured on film actively used its enormous tentacles to go after prey," Mori said.
Gotta love the hyperbole. But this is really interesting. Scientists have thought for a long time that giant squid just kind of hang there in the ocean, waiting for prey to get too close, then grab. Now we know that they're active hunters.
Who's up for scuba diving?
"It's the holy grail of deep sea animals," he said. "It's one that we have never seen alive, and now someone has video of one."
While part of me wistfully realizes that some of the mystery of the giant squid is now gone, I'm still really excited by this news. I'm eagerly awaiting the first Discovery channel documentary on the giant squid. In Imax! I'm just not holding my breath.
"Our reaction is one of tremendous relief that the so-called ... race (to film the giant squid) is over ... because the animal has consumed the last eight or nine years of my life," O'Shea said of the film.
Nine years for a little scrap of video. Wow. I guess that hour long special is a while away!
Update: Someone had better call Falwell; he's something new to condemn. "God created Squid Adam and Squid Eve, not Squid Adam and Squid Steve!"
(I'd like to be under the sea, in an octopus' cross-post in the shade...)