Giant squids filmed first time by deep-sea submarine

First Posted: Jan 08, 2013 05:49 PM EST

The first videos ever shot of giant squids in their natural deep-sea habitat have been shot by Japan Broadcasting Corp. (NHK). Screen grabs from the footage captured in July 2012 were now released, which show a 3-meter giant near Chichi island, about 1000 kilometers south of Tokyo.

The elusive giant squids, which can become as big as 18 meters long, are roaming the depths of the Pacific Ocean, several hundred meters under the surface where pressure becomes very high. They have the largest eyes of the planet, with a diameter of 25 centimeter, and feed on other squids and deep-sea fish.

Japan's National Science Museum cooperated with Japanese public broadcaster NHK and the US Discovery Channel to succeeded with the difficult and expensive mission of filming the deep-sea creature at a depth of 630 meters and more, using a deep-sea submersible.

The scientists attempted around 100 missions, during which the three-man crews spent 400 hours in the small submarine, in order to track and film giant squids in the northern Pacific. NHK said that they used a custom developed ultra-sensitive camera capable of recording high-definition movies in the dark and cold deep-sea.

"The giant squid was so beautiful that it seemed to sparkle," said Tsunemi Kubodera, an expert on cephalopods at the National Museum of Nature and Science, who was aboard the submersible.

The species, known as "Architeuthis", is still mysterious, and could even well be the origin of the Nordic legend of Kraken, the sea monster believed to have attacked ships in waters off Scandinavia over the past centuries.

The recorded videos are scheduled to be aired in Japan in the middle of January.

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