Thursday, 29 September 2005

Giant Squid Found Live!

Giant Squid

Wow - they finally photographed a giant squid live in the wild!

For centuries giant squids, formally called Architeuthis, have been the stuff of legends, appearing in the myths of ancient Greece or attacking a submarine in Jules Verne's "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea." But they had never been seen in their natural habitat, only caught in fishing nets or washed ashore dead or dying.

The Japanese team, capping a three-year effort, filmed the creature in September of last year, finding what one researcher called "the holy grail" of deep-sea animals. (Seattle Times-Intelligencer)

Man - ever since last year's New Yorker article on the Squid Hunter (an excellent read - highly recommended if you want more background about the quest for the giant squid), I've been quite intrigued by the fact that the world's largest inverterbrate was almost mythical, since only dead ones had been found. It was almost like trying to find Nessie.

So I guess Steve O'Shea's quest to be the first man to see the live giant squid (as described in that New Yorker article) is kind of over - although he still has the chance I suppose to be the first to capture the giant squid live:
a squid is highly sensitive to its environment. Accustomed to living in a borderless realm, a squid reacts poorly when placed in a tank, and will often plunge, kamikaze-style, into the walls, or cannibalize other squid.
(The New Yorker)
O'Shea is also quoted in the Times-Intelligencer article (naturally - of course one would call in the expert on the subject), and he was very gracious to the Japanese team:
Through sheer ... determination the guy has gone on and done it," said O'Shea, chief marine scientist at the Auckland University of Technology, who is not linked to the Japanese research.
So another mystery of the deep seas resolved. Always interesting when large animals are discovered.

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you got me so hooked on it i spent my time reading the new yorker article instead of reading homer.


Ahh - both involve long periods at sea anyway.


It's gripping, innit (pun unintended). Although, as said, I don't really care for anything in the ocean that has me on the menu. Ref the NYer, I also liked the write-up on the giant squid in Slate's "Explainer" (but not the one in "Low Concept" which (I kid you not) compared the giant squid to Tom Cruise). As always, thanks for an interesting post.


Check out Pharyngula's lewd description of squid sex.


But doesn't finding dead ones already suggest it exists? I'm curious how long these giant squid live though. And I would really love if someone caught on film a fight between giant squid and er, shark?


errol morris did an epidsode on the squid hunter about 5 years ago for his first person series. the series is on dvd now.


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