The giant squid in its natural environment was one of the many mysteries of the deep ocean, until an intrepid camera crew caught one on film. A joint mission by the Japan Broadcasting Company and Discovery Channel spent six weeks searching for the elusive creatures before they sighted one off Japan’s Ogaswara archipelago. According to Scientific American, the expedition came face-to-face with the monstrous mollusk at 3000 feet underwater. Team members watched in awe inside a small submersible as the squid played with their exterior cameras.
The video and documentary of the expedition was released as the season finale for Discovery Channel’s Curiosity series. Part of the footage can be seen in the video embedded below.
The mission had been a long time in planning and consisted of the finest minds when it comes to all things 20,000 leagues under the sea. Squid specialist Tsunemi Kubodera was borrowed from Japan’s National Museum of Nature and Science to locate the animals, while deep-sea expert Edith Widder designed the custom camera system for the expedition, dubbed Medusa. Piloted by veteran submariner Jim Harris, the submersible spent an awe-inspiring 18 minutes with the squid as it feed on bait tied to the outside of the craft.
The squid in the video measures about 10 feet long, but may have once been up to 26 feet long due to two tentacles that are mysteriously missing. Adult giant squid have been speculated to grow to about 33-43 feet long, but they are not the largest squid species. That honor goes to the aptly named Collosal Squid, which also sports the largest eyes of any known animal.
Additional footage can be seen below.