Giant Squid, Elusive Creature of the Deep, Gets a Vivid Close-Up


Giant From the Deep Is Spotted in Japan

A 12-foot-long giant squid was filmed in Toyama Bay on Christmas Eve.

By REUTERS on Publish Date December 29, 2015. Photo by Reuters. Watch in Times Video »

They can be bigger than a bus, and yet the elusive giant squid has hardly been spotted swimming alive in the ocean.

It became a little less mythical on Christmas Eve, however, when a fisherman spotted the creature, known as an Architeuthis (pronounced ark-uh-TOOTH-us), gliding near the water’s surface in Japan’s Toyama Bay, northwest of Tokyo.


An image taken from a video that captured a giant squid in 2012. Credit Reuters

Video footage captured the ballet of pink and white tentacles, the squid’s enormous mouth and saucerlike eyes at one point encompassing the lens.

A local diver, Akinobu Kimura, swam with the creature. “My curiosity to get closer and to see the details on every part of its body was greater than my fear,” he said.

Mr. Kimura said he had seen giant squids in the first two months of 2015 and knew they couldn’t move very quickly, but he was still caught by surprise. “At one point, it wrapped tentacles around me and I lost control of my body,” he said. “The suckers stuck to my hand, and when the squid pulled away, it hurt.”

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More giant squids are making appearances in Japan’s coastal waters, though most are dead. John Bowers, a professor specializing in oceanography at Hokkaido University, said evidence of more than 50 have turned up in the past two years, specifically in warmer waters, where giant squids struggle to maintain blood flow and become sluggish.

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