Printed on: January 10, 2013

Giant squid is filmed in ocean


TOKYO (AP) -- After a hundred dives deep into the Pacific, scientists and broadcasters say they have captured video images of a giant squid in its natural habitat deep in the ocean for the first time.

The 9-foot invertebrate was filmed from a manned submersible during one of 100 dives in the Pacific last summer in a joint expedition by Japanese public broadcaster NHK, Discovery Channel and Japan's National Museum of Nature and Science.

NHK released photos of the giant squid this week ahead of Sunday's show about the encounter. The Discovery Channel will air its program Jan. 27.

The squid, which was inexplicably missing its two longest tentacles, was spotted in waters east of Chichi Island about 600 miles south of Tokyo, NHK said. The crew followed it to a depth of 2,950 feet.

Little is known about the creature because its harsh environment makes it difficult for scientists to conduct research. Specimens have washed ashore on beaches but never before have been filmed in their normal habitat deep in the ocean, researchers say.

Japanese zoologist Tsunemi Kubodera, who was on board the submersible at the time of the encounter, was able to lure the giant squid with a 3-foot-long diamond squid.

All the lights from the submersible were turned off while they waited. At a depth of 2,100 feet, the giant squid appeared and wrapped its arms around the bait, eating it for more than 20 minutes before letting go.