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

Video Analysts: Beijing Parade a 'Bazaar' of Stolen Technology

Show commemorating victory over Japan in World War II involved long, medium and short range missiles, a range of tanks and 200 fighter aircraft More

Bernie Sanders Surge Reflects US Shift on Socialism

Although most analysts say it is unlikely he will get the Democratic nomination, Sanders' campaign opens up questions and issues that are otherwise marginalized More

Video On IS Frontline, Kurdish Fighters Ready for Offensive

Peshmerga soldiers say although they need more heavy artillery, they are poised to take the fight to the Islamic State extremists on their turf More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Drowned Migrant Toddler Photo Triggers European Outragei
X
Henry Ridgwell
September 04, 2015 11:36 AM
The harrowing picture of a drowned three-year-old Syrian boy washed up on a Turkish beach appears to have galvanized Europe’s leaders into doing more to address the refugee crisis. France, Germany and Italy issued a joint call Thursday for compulsory quotas of refugees for all EU states. But there were chaotic scenes in Hungary as police tried to force migrants off a train heading for Austria. Henry Ridgwell has more. And a caution, some of the images in this report may be disturbing.
Video

Video Drowned Migrant Toddler Photo Triggers European Outrage

The harrowing picture of a drowned three-year-old Syrian boy washed up on a Turkish beach appears to have galvanized Europe’s leaders into doing more to address the refugee crisis. France, Germany and Italy issued a joint call Thursday for compulsory quotas of refugees for all EU states. But there were chaotic scenes in Hungary as police tried to force migrants off a train heading for Austria. Henry Ridgwell has more. And a caution, some of the images in this report may be disturbing.
Video

Video Russians Observe 11th Anniversary of Beslan School Attack

This week, Russians have been observing the 11th anniversary of the attack by Islamic militants on a school in Russia's North Caucasus region that killed more than 330 hostages, including 186 children. The three-day siege and massacre that started on September 1, 2004 took place in Beslan, a town in the republic of North Ossetia, and is one of the bloodiest terrorist acts ever in Russia. VOA's Mike Richman reports.
Video

Video Native Americans Debate: Father Serra, Saint or Sinner?

Pope Francis will canonize an 18th century missionary to Spanish California during a papal visit to the United States this month.  But some Native Americans have criticized the elevation to sainthood of the missionary priest, Junipero Serra. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Calais School Offers Another Face of Europe’s Migrant Crisis

Europe is facing mounting criticism over how it’s handling its biggest migration crisis since World War II. But not all Europeans believe building walls or passing repressive policies are the answer. A school for migrants in the French port city of Calais, is opening doors and building bonds across nationalities. VOA's Lisa Bryant reports.
Video

Video Kurdish Fighters on IS Frontline Ready for Offensive

Finger on the trigger, the Kurdish Peshmerga soldier stared across the dust at a village taken over by Islamic State extremists. The Kurdistan’s Khazir frontline, just 45 minutes from the Islamic State stronghold of Mosul. And at this point, the militants were less than two kilometers away. VOA's Sharon Behn reports.
Video

Video China Announces Troop Cuts at WWII Parade

Chinese President Xi Jinping Thursday announced plans to cut the world’s largest military force by 300,000 troops. The announcement was made during a massive military parade to commemorate victory over Japan in World War II. The event was shunned by most Western leaders and for some is raising fresh concerns about China’s military ambitions. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video Russia-Japan Relations Cool as Putin Visits China for WWII Anniversary

Russian President Vladimir Putin is in Beijing for commemorations of the 70th anniversary of China's WWII victory over Japan. Putin is expected to visit Japan later this year, but tensions between Tokyo and Moscow over islands disputed since the war, and sanctions over Ukraine, could pour cold water on the plan. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Yemen ‘on Brink of Disaster’ as Medical Shortages Soar

Aid agencies warn Yemen is on the brink of humanitarian disaster – with up to half a million children facing severe malnutrition, and hospitals running out of basic medicines. There are fears Yemen's civil war could escalate as the coalition led by Saudi Arabia tries to drive back Houthi rebels, who seized control of much of the country earlier this year. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Apps Helping Kenyan Businesses Stay Ahead of Counterfeiters

Counterfeit goods in Kenya cost the government as much as $1 billion each year in lost tax revenues. The fake goods also hurt entrepreneurs who find it hard to carve out a niche in the market and retain customers. But as Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi, information technology is being used to try to beat the problem.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.

VOA Blogs