The size of a bus, with eyes as big as dinner plates and a tangle of tentacles covered with suckers, the giant squid (Architeuthis dux) has nourished legends and attracted human fascination since the ancient Greeks. The real thing, a purplish-red cephalopod measuring roughly 25 feet, was photographed 2,950 feet beneath the North Pacific by cameras attached to a baited fishing line. More than 500 images show the squid wrapping its giant tentacles around the bait, Tsunemi Kubodera of the National Science Museum and Kyoichi Mori of the Ogasawara Whale Watching Association, both in Tokyo, reported in the journal Proceedings B of the Royal Society.
The breakthrough ends an age-old search for the elusive creature and shows for the first time the movements, behavior and natural habitat of the enormous tentacled animal. Until now, the only information about Architeuthis had been based on dead specimens found either washed ashore or entangled in trawler nets. The researchers first tracked sperm whales, regular hunters of giant squid, and discovered that the mammals gathered off Japan’s Ogasawara Islands, diving to depths of about 3,250 feet, where giant squid are thought to live.
Once they found a likely spot, they dropped a line with a camera, light and data logger on two jigs baited with common squids and freshly ground shrimps as an odor lure. Pictures were taken every 30 seconds.At 9:15 a.m. on Sept. 30 2005, a 25 foot squid approached the bait. After struggling for four hours to free itself from the hooks used to carry the bait, the squid broke away, leaving behind an 18-foot piece of tentacle. DNA tests from the severed tentacle matched fragments taken from the remains of other giant squid found around Japan. Thanks to Kubodera and Mori scientist will be able to study this animal as never before. It is fantastic that someone has succeed in capturing it on a camera at last.
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