Published on 9 Jan 2013 Sections

Giant squid filmed in the deep for the first time

Video released today shows one of the world’s most mysterious and enigmatic animals – the giant squid – living in its natural habitat for the first time.

Though scientists have captured still images of the deep-sea predator, no one has ever filmed the creature in the wild. The new video shows a 9 foot (3m) squid which film-makers from Japan’s NHK and US Discovery Channel pursued to depths of 3,000 feet in a submersible.

Giant squid are thought to grow to 43 feet (13m) in length from the tip of their tentacles to the end of the posterior fins. The animals dive to extraordinary depths in pursuit of prey, usually other squid and fish.

They are themselves an important prey item for sperm whales and researchers often follow sperm whales to study giant squid. In 2006 researchers from the national science museum of Japan filmed a captured giant squid at the surface.

The same team have now used a submersible and smaller diamond squid as bait to attract and film giant squid. The scientists and film crew made 100 dives to obtain the footage shot last July near the Ogasawara islands, 620 miles (1,000 kilometres) south of Tokyo.

Japanese broadcaster NHK plans to broadcast its footage on 13 January and a documentary about the expedition will appear on the Discovery Channel on 27 January.