Sub chases, films giant squid going to Pacific abyss

AFP-JIJI

Scientists and broadcasters said Monday they have captured footage of an elusive giant squid deep in the North Pacific that may have been up to 8 meters long before losing its two long tentacles.

The National Science Museum was able to film the deep-sea creature in its natural habitat for the first time, working with NHK and the U.S. Discovery Channel.

They spotted the squid at a depth of 630 meters using a submersible in July, some 15 km east of Chichi Island, part of the Ogasawara chain. The submarine with three people on board, including Tsunemi Kubodera from the museum, followed the enormous mollusk to a depth of 900 meters as it swam into the abyss.

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 against the backdrop of the dark depths.

The creature was about 3 meters long, but was “estimated to be as long as 8 meters if its two long arms had not been chopped off,” Kubodera said. He gave no explanation for its missing tentacles.

He said it was the first video footage of a live giant squid in its natural habitat — the depths where there is little oxygen.

Kobudera, 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 the creature was hooked and brought up to the surface.

The giant squid, known as 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.