8 Jan 2013

Giant squid filmed deep in Pacific Ocean

7:33 am on 8 January 2013

Scientists have filmed an elusive giant squid, estimated to have grown as large as eight metres long in the depths of the northern Pacific Ocean.

Japan's National Science Museum, working with NHK and the Discovery Channel, used a submersible to film the deep-sea creature in its natural habitat for the first time.

After around 100 missions, during which 400 hours was spent in the submarine, the three-man crew tracked the creature from a spot around 15km east of Chichi Island.

Researcher Tsunemi Kubodera said they followed it to a depth of 900 metres.

NHK showed footage of a silver-coloured creature, which had huge black eyes, as it swam against the current, holding a bait squid in its arms.

"It was shining and so beautiful," said Mr Kubodera.

The creature had its two longest arms missing. Mr Kubodera estimates it would have been eight metres long if it had been whole.

The ABC reports the giant squid - Architeuthis to scientists - is sometimes described as one of the last mysteries of the ocean.

Researchers say Architeuthis eats other types of squid and grenadier, a species of fish that lives in the deep ocean. They say it can grow to be longer than 10 metres.