Scientists Capture Giant Squid On Camera
First Pics Show a Very Active Giant Squid ~ By Takanori Isshiki
Tokyo - The first photographs of a live giant squid - one of the most mysterious creatures in the deep ocean - suggest it is a more active creature than previously thought, a Japanese scientist said on Wednesday.
Until now the only information about the behaviour of the creatures which measure up to 18 metres in length has been based on dead or dying squid washed up on shore or captured in commercial fishing
But Tsunemi Kubodera, of the National Science Museum, and Kyoichi Mori of the Ogasawara Whale Watching Association, both in Tokyo have captured the first images
of Architeuth is attacking bait 900 metres below the surface in the cold, dark waters of the North Pacific
"Up to now, giant squids were thought to be relatively sluggish squids that stay in deep waters without moving much... But we found out that they move around pretty actively," Kubodera told Reuters in an interview.
Kubodera and Mori published their unprecedented finding in the journal Proceedings B of the Royal Society on Wednesday.
Kubodera said he was particularly struck by the way the giant squid - which was captured on film in a sequence of photographs taken every 30 seconds - tangled its prey in its elongated feeding tentacles.
"It's probably almost exactly the same as the way giant snakes wrap up their prey... with their bodies," said Kubodera as he stood before a mounted specimen of a separate giant squid displayed at the National Science Museum in the Japanese capital.
"That surprised me a little bit," he said.
The Japanese scientists found the squid by following sperm whales, the most effective hunters of giant squid, as they gathered to feed between September and December in the deep waters off the coast of the Ogasawara Islands in the North Pacific
They used a remote
logging system to capture the giant squid in the ocean depths.
The photos showed the giant squid thrashing its tentacles about after one of its tentacles got caught on a hook that the bait had been attached to.
It eventually escaped, but left behind a part of a white tentacle.
"When we stuck our fingers out it (the tentacle) stuck on pretty firmly. It got stuck on the deck
of the boat... and didn't come off easily. It was still alive," Kubodera said, referring to the tentacle.
Little is known about giant squids, which may have been the basis for the legend of the "kraken" - huge, tentacled monsters that sailors claimed to have encountered in seas off Norway
in the 18th century.
Despite the surprising activity of the giant squid captured on film, Kubodera said he thought it lived too deep underwater to pose a menace to sailors like the legendary sea monster.
"They live in areas 900 metres to 1 000 metres deep although they come up at night to around 400 metres to 500 metres.
"It's unthinkable that the giant squid that we photographed would come up to the surface and drag ships down like that," Kubodera said, referring to the kraken of legend.
"But with the ocean, there are still many unknowns," he added.