Wednesday, January 9, 2013
This silvery apparation is a still from video footage (more below) of a giant squid, Architeuthis, filmed by a Japanese science crew at ludicrous ocean depths of 1 000 metres at a site in the Pacific Ocean about 1 000km south of Japan.
The creature was a relatively small three-metre specimen – some brought to the surface have been up to 18 metres long. But this was the first time the animal has been filmed in its natural habitat.
The team from the Japan's National Museum of History and science was led by zoologist Tsunemi Kubodera. He reports the squid as moving alone through the depths and looking "rather lonely".
The key to getting the footage was using a near-infra-red light source invisible to human and cephalopod eyes and deploying another squid as bait. The tea made 100 dives before they successfully filmed the creature.
The giant squid has long been a monster of legend said to be able to sink a ship. It was named the Kraken by Norwegian sailors in the 18th century, and entered contemporary culture courtesy of the Pirates Of The Caribbean franchise.
The squid itself makes its international bow in a forthcoming Discovery Channel TV special.