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January Wed 09, 2013
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Discovery Channel, along with a team from the Japanese Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology and the Japanese broadcasting company NHK, succeeded in filming a giant squid for the first time in history. The giant squid, or architeuthis dux, in the past has mostly been seen dead or dying, captured by accident in nets or washed up on beaches, but rarely seen moving in its natural habitat, especially since that habitat is normally found at depths starting at 400 feet. The animal was thus the subject of many ancient myths and legends, though in recent times squids have also been captured and their bodies preserved in museums. The Discovery Channel footage will be shown at the end of January, in the episode, “Monster Squid: The Giant is Real”. The giant squid is the world’s largest invertebrate, and current estimates put its maximum size at 12-14 meters (39-46 feet) long. The largest one ever captured also weighed over 1,000 pounds. The squid also has the largest recorded eyes of the animal kingdom, with one specimen recorded at 27 cm. They feed on other squid and on large fish, and they are the prey of sperm whales. The giant squid, in addition to the small teeth on the suckers of their legs, also have large hooks on the ends of their limbs. The research team, led by Tsunemi Kubodera, went to find this squid near the Ogasawara Islands, south of Tokyo, in early December. This area was chosen by the scientists because of the number of whales found feeding in the area. They used three submersibles and made over 55 dives and almost 300 hours before finding the squid. The specimen filmed, and then caught was estimated to be about 8 meters (24 feet) long. It was lured near the nets with a small squid, and then caught, though the catching unfortunately led to its death. The research that led to the finding of the squid, and the search, which lasted over three years, also is thought to show that there are more giant squid than previously thought. Given the number of sperm whales, estimated at 200,000 and the amount that each has to eat in a day (at least 1,000 pounds of food), it seems that there could be many, many more giants where this one was found. See the video preview of the giant squid on the next page.
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