giant squid

Giant squid snapped in the deep, from Nature News

This is the first ever photograph of a giant squid in the wild. Japanese researchers snapped the eight-metre monster as it attacked their bait in the inky blackness almost a kilometre below the waves.

The photographs were taken by zoologist Tsunemi Kubodera of the National Science Museum, and Kyoichi Mori of the Ogasawara Whale Watching Association, both based in Tokyo. They used a 1,000-metre baited fishing line with a camera attached to record the close encounter in the deep.

Their images show a giant squid aggressively engulfing the bait at a depth of some 900 metres. During the encounter, which lasted more than four hours, the squid became entangled in the apparatus and eventually beat a retreat, leaving behind a 5.5-metre section of one of its feeding tentacles.

For some reason I totally dig giant squids. I suspect it’s one of those things that I like largely because it’s obscure and mysterious.

Errol Morris had a TV show a few years ago called First Person, and one of the people he interviewed was Clyde Roper of the Smithsonian Institute, who has made a career studying giant squids. I’m a little sad for him that he wasn’t the one who photographed this. But I bet he’s pretty excited about it.