A creature from the deep ocean in the form of a giant Architeuthis squid made a rare appearance in the shallow waters of a Japanese harbor.
The sea monster was considered to exist only in mythology until recent years. Spectators on a pier in Toyama Bay in central Japan were treated to the rare sight of a giant squid on Christmas Eve.
The creature swam under fishing boats and close to the surface of Toyama Bay, better known for its firefly squid, and reportedly hung around the bay for several hours before it was ushered back to open water.
It was captured on video by a submersible camera, and even joined by a diver, Akinobu Kimura, owner of Diving Shop Kaiyu, who swam in close proximity to the red-and-white real-life sea monster.
CNN YouTube video:
“My curiosity was way bigger than fear, so I jumped into the water and go close to it,” he told CNN.
“This squid was not damaged and looked lively, spurting ink and trying to entangle his tentacles around me. I guided the squid toward to the ocean, several hundred meters from the area it was found in, and it disappeared into the deep sea.”
Yuki Ikushi, the curator of Uozu Aquarium in Uozu, Toyama, told CNN that there were 16 reports of Architeuthis squid trapped by fishing nets last season, and this one is the first sighting this season, which runs from November to March.
“We might see more in this season, but it’s very rare for them to be found swimming around (the fishing boats’) moorings.”
The Toyama squid is a fairly small example of the species, estimated at around 3.7 meters (12.1 feet) long, and may be a juvenile. Giant squid are thought to grow as large as 13 meters (43 feet) long. They typically inhabit deep waters, and it is unclear why this one wandered into the bay.
How could something that big live in our ocean and yet remain unfilmed until now?
In a 2013 TED Talk, oceanographer and inventor Edith Widder spoke about how her team first filmed the giant squid in 2013:
How could something that big live in our ocean and yet remain unfilmed until now? We’ve only explored about five percent of our ocean. There are great discoveries yet to be made down there, fantastic creatures representing millions of years of evolution and possibly bioactive compounds that could benefit us in ways that we can’t even yet imagine. Yet we have spent only a tiny fraction of the money on ocean exploration that we’ve spent on space exploration. We need a NASA-like organization for ocean exploration, because we need to be exploring and protecting our life support systems here on Earth.
TED YouTube video:
Humankind has been looking for the giant squid (Architeuthis) since we first started taking pictures underwater. But the elusive deep-sea predator could never be caught on film. Oceanographer and inventor Edith Widder shares the key insight — and the teamwork — that helped to capture the squid on camera for the first time.
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