The giant squid (Architeuthis sp.), the elusive predator of the deep that usually only shows itself when it dies, has been captured for the first time on video, in waters more than 3,000 feet deep by a team from Japan’s NHK and the Discovery Channel.
According to a statement put out by the Discovery Channel, capturing footage of the giant squid in its natural habitat was considered the holy grail of natural history filmmaking, and the footage captured by the joint team breaks that chalice.
The giant squid hunters spent more than 285 hours in two submersibles looking for the squid, diving 55 times and traveling at depths exceeding 3,000 feet. They used sophisticated cameras, lights that the squid could not see, bio luminescent lures, and even a concoction of squid attractants to capture footage of these giants of the deep.
Footage of the giant cephalopod was captured in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Chichi Island, Japan in a region that the NHK crew had been studying and filming for more than 10 years. Working with Japan’s National Museum of Nature and Science, the team, along with collaboration from the Discovery Channel, was able to capture video footage of the animal outside the submersible. The squid made its appearance at a depth of 630 meters and was later followed to a depth of 900 meters.
Female giant squid are known to grow more than 43 feet in length from the head to the tip of the longest tentacle. Males are smaller at 33 feet. The estimated maximum weight of a female giant squid is 610 lbs while males grow to about 330 lbs. Their eyes are about the size of a basketball.
The Discovery Channel will air its special, MONSTER SQUID: THE GIANT IS REAL on January 27, 2013 at 8 p.m. ET/PT. It will serve as the season finale of its CURIOSITY series. NHK will also air its special this month in Japan.