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Cindy Maddera

I remember when Discovery Channel first aired Chasing Giants. I was so excited. I planned my schedule around it so I could eagerly watch while munching on popcorn. Needless to say, it was a big let-down. They never found a live giant squid swimming around in the deep ocean. It’s always boggled my mind that something so large has never been captured live on tape. The giant squid is truly a mystery of the deep...until now. Finally, someone has captured images of the squid in its natural environment. Zoologist Tsunemi Kubodera caught images of the squid off the coast of the Ogasawara islands in Japan by setting up bait lines, each one equipped with a camera, timer, strobe light, depth sensor, data logger and depth-activated switch, at depths between 400 and 500 meters to 800 and 1,000 meters.

Sperm whales come to the area between September and December to hunt food (giant squid) and are known to dive to depths of 800 to 1,000 feet during the day and 400 to 500 feet during the night. Kubodera used this data to determine 23 deployment areas for his bait line. The pictures show the squid attacking the bait and strangling the prey. It also got tangled up in the line and left behind a 5.5 meter severed tentacle.

It’s been a longtime theory that the giant squid use the longer tentacles like a fishing line, dangling them down to attract prey. These images show that theory to be false. The giant squid is much more aggressive than scientists thought and strangle its prey in the same way a boa constrictor does.

So, no swimming off the coast of Japan between September and December in depths of 400 feet or more at night.