Giant squid are the stuff of legend. The creatures inspired fear and terror in generations of seafaring men—how else do you explain the Kraken?—and though they occasionally pop up, usually as corpse pieces floating in the ocean, they’ve never been filmed in their natural habitat. Until now.
Though specimens of giant squid, known scientifically as Architeuthis, have been found in the past, including one more than 43 feet long, only one has previously been captured on tape. The 2006 video shows the squid, caught by using a female as bait, on the surface. Now a Japanese film crew has captured footage of the world’s largest invertebrate swimming in the deep waters it inhabits.
After 400 hours, and 100 missions, the team—a combination of people from NHK broadcasting in Japan and the US-based Discovery Channel—was able to film the creature at a depth of nearly one-third of a mile. Once they located the squid, the three-person submersible followed the animal, which was an estimated three meters long, down to 900 meters before it slipped into the darkness of the deep ocean.
Tsunemi Kubodero, from the National Science Museum in Japan, depicted the moment they finally saw the squid as, “shining and so beautiful.”
Notoriously reclusive, the eight-limbed, two-tentacled Architeuthis feeds primarily on grenadier fish and other squid. They’ve also been known to tussle with sperm whales, and injuries and stomach contents “have hinted at bloody battles to the death between the two leviathans.”
Witnesses have seen the two beasts locked in mortal combat, which only lends credence to the old-timey myths about monsters from the hidden depths of the oceans. Even given their fearsome reputation, there have been no confirmed reports of a giant squid attacking boats or ships. That doesn’t stop them from being scary as hell, though.