News / Science & Technology

First Images of Giant Squid Filmed in Deep Ocean

A giant squid is seen in this still image taken from video captured from a submersible by a Japanese-led team of scientists near Ogasawara islands taken in July 2012, in this handout picture released by NHK/NEP/Discovery Channel in Tokyo January 7, 2013.
A giant squid is seen in this still image taken from video captured from a submersible by a Japanese-led team of scientists near Ogasawara islands taken in July 2012, in this handout picture released by NHK/NEP/Discovery Channel in Tokyo January 7, 2013.
Reuters
A Japanese-led team of scientists has captured on film the world's first live images of a giant squid, journeying to the depths of the ocean in search of the mysterious creature thought to have inspired the myth of the `"kraken'', a tentacled monster.

The images of the silvery, three-meter-long (10 feet) cephalopod, looming out of the darkness nearly 1 km below the surface, were taken last July near the Ogasawara islands, 1,000 km (620 miles) south of Tokyo.

Though the beast was small by giant squid standards - the largest ever caught stretched 18 meters long, tentacles and all - filming it secretly in its natural habitat was a key step towards understanding the animal, researchers said.

"Many people have tried to capture an image of a giant squid alive in its natural habitat, whether researchers or film crews. But they all failed,'' said Tsunemi Kubodera, a zoologist at Japan's National Museum of Nature and Science, who led the team.

A giant squid is seen in this still image taken from video captured from a submersible by a Japanese-led team of scientists near Ogasawara islands taken in July 2012, in this handout picture released by NHK/NEP/Discovery Channel in Tokyo, Japan, January 7A giant squid is seen in this still image taken from video captured from a submersible by a Japanese-led team of scientists near Ogasawara islands taken in July 2012, in this handout picture released by NHK/NEP/Discovery Channel in Tokyo, Japan, January 7
x
A giant squid is seen in this still image taken from video captured from a submersible by a Japanese-led team of scientists near Ogasawara islands taken in July 2012, in this handout picture released by NHK/NEP/Discovery Channel in Tokyo, Japan, January 7
A giant squid is seen in this still image taken from video captured from a submersible by a Japanese-led team of scientists near Ogasawara islands taken in July 2012, in this handout picture released by NHK/NEP/Discovery Channel in Tokyo, Japan, January 7
"These are the first-ever images of a real live giant squid,'' Kubodera said of the footage, shot by Japanese national broadcaster NHK and the Discovery Channel.

The key to their success, said Kubodera, was a small submersible rigged with lights invisible to both human and cephalopod eyes.
    
He, a cameraman and the submersible's pilot drifted silently down to 630 meters and released a one-meter-long squid as bait. In all, they descended around 100 times.

"If you try and approach making a load of noise, using a bright white light, then the squid won't come anywhere near you. That was our basic thinking,'' Kubodera said.

"So we sat there in the pitch black, using a near-infrared light invisible even to the human eye, waiting for the giant squid to approach,'' he said.
    
As the squid neared they began to film, following it into the depths to around 900 meters.

"I've seen a lot of giant squid specimens in my time, but mainly those hauled out of the ocean. This was the first time for me to see with my own eyes a giant squid swimming,'' he said.  "It was stunning, I couldn't have dreamt that it would be so beautiful. It was such a wonderful creature.''
    
Until recently, little was known about the creature believed to be the real face of the mythical kraken, a sea-monster blamed by sailors for sinking ships off Norway in the 18th century.
    
But for Kubodera, the animal held no such terror.

"A giant squid essentially lives a solitary existence, swimming about all alone in the deep sea. It doesn't live in a group,'' he said. "So when I saw it, well, it looked to me like it was rather lonely.''

You May Like

US Imposes Sanctions on Alleged Honduran Drug Gang

Treasury department alleges Los Valles group is responsible for smuggling tens of thousands of kilograms of cocaine into US each month More

At 91, Marvel Creator Stan Lee Continues to Expand his Universe

Company's chief emeritus hopes to interest new generation of children in superheroes of all shapes and sizes by publishing content across multiple media platforms More

Photogallery New Drug Protects Against Virus in Ebola Family

Study by researchers at University of Texas Medical Branch, Tekmira Pharmaceuticals is first looking at drug's effectiveness after onset of symptoms More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebolai
X
George Putic
August 20, 2014 8:57 PM
While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ferguson Calls For Justice as Anger, Violence Grips Community

Violence, anger and frustration continue to grip the small St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri. Protests broke out after a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black teenager on August 9. The case has sparked outrage around the nation and prompted the White House to send U.S. Attorney Eric Holder to the small community of just over 20,000 people. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas has more from Ferguson.
Video

Video Beheading Of US Journalist Breeds Outrage

U.S. and British authorities have launched an investigation into an Islamic State video showing the beheading of kidnapped American journalist James Foley by a militant with a British accent. The extremist group, which posted the video on the Internet Tuesday, said the murder was revenge for U.S. airstrikes on militant positions in Iraq - and has threatened to execute another American journalist it is holding. Henry Ridgwell has more from London.
Video

Video Family Robots - The Next Big Thing?

Robots that can help us with daily chores like cooking and cleaning are a long way off, but automatons that serve as family companions may be much closer. Researchers in the United States, France, Japan and other countries are racing to build robots that can entertain and perform some simpler tasks for us. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.

AppleAndroid