The giant squid or architeuthis is a rare creature indeed. For many years it seemed the stuff of legends. It lives in ocean depths thousands of feet deep. Many marine biologists believed that the rare beast would never be observed in the wild. Though a few have died in fishing nets or washed ashore, none had been observed alive until now.
A team of Japanese scientists headed by Tsunemi Kubodera had been working on the project for 3 years when last September they were rewarded. They not only photographed the giant squid but ended up with a tentacle as a souvenir. The squid was 26 feet long, purple-red in color, and probably an adult female. They are the largest invertebrates. Some can top 50 feet in length!
The team followed some sperm whales as they feed on squid. The squid was located southeast of Tokyo off of Chichijima island. The squid had been battling a line baited with shrimp–a battle that went on for over four hours! In the battle, the squid lost a tentacle. It’ll survive just fine without the tentacle according to the experts.
Photographs from the project were released only this week. The photographs are hailed as a great achievements for science. As the giant squid is so elusive, the photographs will provide many details as to their behavior in their natural habitat. Kudobera had spent 10 years studying the giant squid before he was rewarded.
If you would like to learn more about the project and their findings, a free pdf file is available from the Royal Society website: First Ever Observations of a Wild Giant Squid