Sep
28
2005

Arghhhh, Squiddy!


Giant Squid Capture - Etching: A ship tries to capture a giant squid in 1861.

On September 30, Japanese researchers Tsunemi Kubodera and Kyoichi Mori managed to catch a giant squid (Architeuthis dux) on camera in its natural habitat for the first time ever.

They followed sperm whales, which hunt giant squid, as they gathered to feed in the deep waters off the coast of the Ogasawara Islands in the Pacific Ocean. From their research boat, they attached a camera and depth recorder to a baited long-line and waited. And almost 3000 feet down, in the waters off Japan's Bonin Islands, a 26-foot giant squid took the bait. Until now, some scientists believed that the giant squid was sluggish predator that dangled its tentacles like fishing lines to catch prey; the video, though, shows a quick and aggressive hunter.

The squid grabbed at the bait with its tentacles, and then coiled them into a ball. Kubodera told Reuters News:

It's probably almost exactly the same as the way giant snakes wrap up their prey...with their bodies. That surprised me a little bit."

The researchers took more than 500 pictures of the squid (one every 30 seconds) as it tried to get away. After four hours, the squid escaped, leaving behind an 18-foot length of tentacle. (The tentacle won't grow back, but losing it shouldn't endanger the squid's life, either.)

(This BBC article has photos and video of the giant squid.)

The photos and video will add greatly to our understanding of these creatures (which can grow up to 56 feet long!), since everything we know so far as been based on observation of dead or dying squid that wash up on shore or get caught in fishing nets.

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

bryan kennedy's picture

You can read the original scientific paper on the giant squid, published in the preceedings of the Royal Society, the United Kingdom's National Acedemy of Science.

posted on Wed, 09/28/2005 - 2:06pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

Interesting, please write more about this

posted on Sun, 11/06/2005 - 10:07am
bryan kennedy's picture

The Discovery Channel also has cool website about the quest to find the Giant Squid.

posted on Wed, 09/28/2005 - 2:14pm
Joe's picture
Joe says:

National Geographic has some more pictures of giant squid.

posted on Thu, 10/27/2005 - 2:14pm
Chicken Little's picture
Chicken Little says:

I like squids

posted on Sat, 05/16/2009 - 12:43pm

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