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First Ever Giant Squid Filmed!

January 11th, 2013

Photo credit: NHK/NEP/Discovery Channel

For the first time ever scientists have seen and videotaped a giant squid in its habitat.

These creatures are so large and so elusive they’ve inspired myths.

Japanese scientists who saw the squid firsthand described it as having a beautiful sheen saying they, “couldn’t have dreamt it was so beautiful. It was such a wonderful creature.”

It also reportedly had eyes the size of dinner plates and measured ten feet long!

(Ceilings in most homes are about 8-feet tall and the average car is 14-feet long — so this squid was somewhere in between. And it’s one of the smaller ones known to exist!)

How did scientists find the giant squid?

Patience. Lots of it.

Photo credit: NHK/NEP/Discovery Channel

They knew their best bet would be the Pacific Ocean, south of Japan.

Then it took them 55 submarine dives. The determined crew was crammed into a little 3-man sub. And they sat in total darkness for a total of nearly 300 hours.

Sometimes they were as deep as 3,000 feet (900 meters or 1/2 mile).

And they waited. With no guarantees.

Graphic via NASA

“If you try and approach making a load of noise using a bright white light, the squid doesn’t come anywhere near you … so we sat there in the pitch black … waiting for the giant squid approach,” scientist Tsunemi Kubodera said.

They used special infrared cameras with lights that neither humans nor the squid could see, biolumiscent bait, and secret squid attractants, according to the Discovery Channel, who was part of the team that also included the Japanese National Museum of Nature and Science , and Japanese broadcaster NHK.

Their perserverance and ingenuity paid off for science … and for us. We’ll be able to see the magnificent giant squid on the  Discovery Channel ‘s show Curiosity on January 27th. Can’t wait!

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6 Comments on “First Ever Giant Squid Filmed!”

  • Janine says:

    The scientific name for giant squid is Architeuthis. These animals have a worldwide distribution, but specimens that man has come into contact with are most commonly stranded in the North Atlantic (Norway and Newfoundland), or caught in the South Atlantic (South Africa), Southwest Pacific (New Zealand, Southern Australia) and the Northwest Pacific (Japan). No man has ever seen a giant squid alive in its natural habitat.

  • Liam A. says:

    Dear Kids News/ Claudia,
    We have been researching about giant squid for school. We had to use two sources. I read on National Geographic that a giant squid is 10 Meters long. You posted 10 feet long. Which is right? This is a big difference.
    http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/invertebrates/giant-squid/
    I look forward to your answer for my report.
    Liam

  • Claudia says:

    Hi Liam, thank you for your question. We love that you noticed the difference in size, as well as in measurement units. We called the Aquarium at Mote Marine Laboratory (www.mote.org) in Sarasota, Florida and spoke with Brian Siegel — he specializes in cephalopods (includes squids). The have a giant squid on display there! Brian confirmed that the giant squid filmed for the first time and was the subject of our HTE story was, relatively speaking, a small/young giant squid at approximately 10 feet long. But he added that giant squid in general can grow to be as much as 35-40 feet long! (Maybe it’s lucky that film crew didn’t encounter one of the bigger ones, that’s huge!) But that would explain why National Geographic said 10 meters. 10 meters = almost 33 feet. Mr. Siegel also mentioned that there’s still a lot to learn about them, but that they’re believed to live approximately 3-5 years. Hope this helps!

  • Drue says:

    On what date was the video of the giant squid made. I thought I heard when watching the DC presentation that they mentioned July 10th, but in reviewing the segment I recorded, it was not specified.

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