First Images of the Giant Squid Filmed in Deep Ocean
A team of Japanese scientific researchers have successfully captures the world’s first live images of a giant squid in the deep ocean. Giant squids are mysterious and rarely spotted by humans, as they dwell at the deepest depths of the ocean. The Giant Squid has only surfaced throughout history in myths and legends, and is known as the ‘creature of the deep’. However, these elusive ocean beasts may soon have some light shed on them with the new live images of them.
The images were taken last July near the Ogasawara Islands, roughly 620 miles (1000 kilometres) south of Tokyo in Japan. The images show a silvery, 10 feet (three metre) long giant squid, or cephalopod, swimming about 1 kilometre below the surface of the ocean.
Although the giant squid is small in size (the largest giant squid ever caught stretched out to over 60 feet (18 metres) long, including the tentacles, researchers say that being able to film and photograph the giant squid live is a key step towards understand the mysteries of the animal.
The footage was shot by the Japanese national broadcaster NHK and the Discovery Channel, and it is the first time that images of a real live giant squid have ever been captured. There have been many attempts to capture an image of a giant squid alive in its natural habitat, by both research teams and film crews, but none have been successful until now.
The key to the team’s success was the use of a small submersible that was rigged with lights invisible to both human and cephalopod eyes. The submersible and its three passengers descended down to 2060 feet (630 metres) under the surface of the ocean, and released a one metre long squid as bait. The team did this descent around 100 times.
In complete darkness, using only near-infrared light, they waited for the giant squid to approach. When it did, the team began filming, and followed the giant squid to a depth of around 2950 feet (900 metres). Up until then, giant squid specimens had only ever really been seen when they were hauled up dead out of the ocean, or had washed up on the shore.
Because so little is known about the giant squid, it has become known as the real life version of the mythical kraken, a terrifying sea-monster that was blamed for sinking ships off the coast of Norway in the 18th century. Giant squid are found in a number of places across the globe, usually near continental and island slopes from the North Atlantic Ocean, especially Newfoundland, Norway, the northern British Isles, Spain as well as in the South Atlantic around southern Africa, the North Pacific around Japan, and the Pacific around New Zealand and Australia. They live a quiet life in the depths, swimming alone in the darkest depths of the sea.
To find out more about the mysterious Giant Squid, you can read my article on Discovering the Giant Squid.