LONDON (Reuters) - Japanese scientists have taken the first photographs of one of the most mysterious creatures in the deep ocean -- the giant squid.
Until now the only information about the behavior of the creatures which measure up to 18 meters (59 feet) in length has been based on dead or dying squid washed up on shore or captured in commercial fishing nets.
But Tsunemi Kubodera, of the National Science Museum, and Kyoichi Mori of the Ogasawara Whale Watching Association, both in Tokyo have captured the first images of Architeuthis attacking bait 900 meters (yards) below the surface in the cold, dark waters of the North Pacific.
"We show the first wild images of a giant squid in its natural environment," they said in a report on Wednesday in the journal Proceedings B of the Royal Society.
Little is known about the creatures because it has been so difficult to locate and study them alive. Large ships and specialist equipment, which is costly, are needed to study deep sea environments.
The Japanese scientists found the squid by following sperm whales, the most effective hunters of giant squid, as they gathered to feed between September and December in the deep waters off the coast of the Ogasawara Islands in the North Pacific.
They used a remote long-line camera and depth logging system to capture the giant squid in the ocean depths.
"The most dramatic character of giant squids is the pair of extremely long tentacles, distinct from the eight shorter arms. The long tentacles make up to two-thirds of the length of the dead specimens to date," the scientists said in the journal.
They added that the giant squid appear to be a much more active predator than researchers had suspected and tangled their prey in their elongated feeding tentacles.
Wow, that's big news! Science has wanted to see a Giant Squid for a long time.
I have always believed the the Giant Squid stories ever since I was a little kid. I remember this PC game I had when in primary school where you had to hunt it down. Plus I love squid fishing. So these two to main tentacles are what makes it different from other squid. From what it said, the body and the other tentacles only measure a length of 6 meters, which is still massive. As much as I believe this article and everything. They should know that 900 yards is not the same length as 900 meters, which makes me question the legitmatcy of it all. Anyway I think I might have calamari for din din....
Now I wonder what the next animal will be?
Exploration of Humanity is continuous for planetary advancement.
It's no more scientific than an imagination
Humans are lucky that they stay 900 meters deep. Do they have a video of it? Id like to see it attack the bait.
Any better pictures available online?
From the pdf:
Look at this bait. And they pretend that its an accident that the squid ripped its own tentacle off...
<div class='quotetop'></div>"It was exciting to get a live Architeuthis tentacle. It was still functioning when we got it on the boat," Dr Kubodera told BBC News.
The large suckers repeatedly gripped the boat deck - and Dr Kubodera's fingers when he prodded the severed appendage.
I know very little about biology, nor about cephalopod reproduction, but would it be possible to clone one of these animals with recovered material, such as the tentacle above, seeing as they are so elusive? I suppose they might be able to use the zygotes of a smaller and more easily obtainable squid, but I don't know how plausible that is. I understand they grow very fast.