Posts Tagged giant squid

Dec 29 2015

Giant squid surfaces in Japanese harbor

By Euan McKirdy and Junko Ogura, CNN
Tokyo (CNN)
It isn’t every day that a mystery from the deep swims into plain sight. But on Christmas Eve, spectators on a pier in Toyama Bay in central Japan were treated to a rare sighting of a giant squid.

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.

“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.

Sightings of giant squid are extremely rare, and indeed for hundreds of years they were considered no more than a myth. The species was likely the inspiration for the mythological Kraken sea monster, a northern European legend popularized in an eponymous poem by Alfred Tennyson, and the Scylla of Greek mythology.

Recent specimens have been found washed ashore dead, when their bright colors have already faded. The first-ever observations of a giant squid in its natural habitat were made in deep waters in the north Pacific in 2004, and Japanese broadcaster NHK, along with the Discovery Channel filmed the first live adult in 2012.

Oceanographer and squid expert Edie Widder of the Ocean Research and Conservation Association, who was part of the team which first captured the squid on film, told a TED audience in 2013: “How could something that big live in our ocean and remain unfilmed until now?

“We’ve only explored about five percent of our ocean. There are great discoveries to be made down there, fantastic creatures representing millions of years of evolution.”

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Oct 7 2015

Rare Giant Squid Found Off the Coast of Hawaii

A rare giant squid was caught off the coast of Hawaii this week. It will be sent to Washington for further research. Mathew Fowler

A fishing charter off the coast of Hawaii encountered a rare and beautiful sea creature this week: a 7-foot-long giant squid. The creature was dead, floating motionless with the bulb of its head sticking out of the water.

“It was a fishing charter and we had just released a blue marlin. We were just getting the line set back out and my guest actually said, ‘Hey, what is that floating over there?’ We got closer to investigate…as we got close I realized it was a giant squid. It was already on the surface. In Hawaii, we have extremely clear water. We could see his entire body,” explains boat captain Cyrus Widhalm of Kona Sea Adventures.

This is the first time in Widhalm’s 10-year boating career that he has seen such a creature. He was fishing in extremely deep water when they made the discovery, he says.

Once they were close to the squid, Widhalm called a local marine biologist who recommended the crew pull it on board and bring it back to land if it was, in fact, dead. Widhalm and his crew then had to carefully check that the squid was deceased.


The squid appears on the boat. Cyrus Widhalm

“It appeared dead but we weren’t totally sure. My deck hand and I, Manny Billegas II, we reached out over the side of the boat. We didn’t realize how heavy it was. I held him in place as he reached down to get it because we were worried a tentacle would reach out to grab him. Once we were sure it was dead, I got into the water. I pushed it up and he pulled it out,” Widhalm tells Newsweek.


The seven foot long squid took up a chunk of Widhalm’s 36-foot boat. Mathew Fowler

Because of the squid’s size, the entire crew became involved in getting it on shore: Ian MacKelvie, also a deckhand, and anglers Mathew and Miriam Fowler helped out.

“I have a 36-foot boat and it took up quite a bit of space. They’re very gelatinous so they can compress into a small space or really flatten out,” says Widhalm. “My guests were blown away. Everyone was having a lot of fun at that point.”


The squid being brought off the boat. Mathew Fowler

The boat traveled back to a dock in Kailua-Kona and the squid was pulled onto dry land. It was laid on a 72-inch fishing bag and exceeded the size of the bag, leading Widhalm to estimate the squid is at least seven feet long. “It might be the biggest one of that species ever found. There had been another brought in that was half the size,” he says.

squid 5 The squid floats in Hawaiian waters. Mathew Fowler

The squid was also weighted, coming in at 52.7 pounds. Afterward, it was placed on ice to prepare it for a long journey to Washington state, where researchers will examine the rare find. The marine biologist Widhalm consulted on the boat said he believes the squid to be a Megalocranchia fisheri.

In addition to being beautiful sea creatures, squid are rather delicious. When asked if Widhalm considered saving it for dinner, he laughed: “They are edible but it seems like it would better serve as a research tool.”

squid 4

From left to right, Manny Billegas II, Cyrus Widhalm, Ian MacKelvie pose with the giant squid. Mathew Fowler

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Jan 13 2014

Giant squid caught by net fisherman off Japan

A story published Thursday about a monstrous radioactive squid discovered on a Southern California beach was an obvious hoax.

But this past week off Japan, an actual giant squid was captured in a fisherman’s net and died after it was hauled to the surface.

The squid in the hoax story was said to be 160 feet long and its immense size was blamed on radiation being leaked into the Pacific in the aftermath of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.

“Alarms sound over radioactive gigantism,” screamed a headline above a story that featured a photoshopped image and quoted experts who do not exist.

Though some believed the story, fabricated by the Lightly Braised Turnip website, it was easily debunked.

But the capture of an actual giant squid Wednesday off Sadogashima Island is more believable, even though squid captures are exceedingly rare.

According to the Japan Times, the male specimen measured about 12 feet and weighed about 330 pounds. The accompanying Japanese-language video shows the creature on display and being measured by scientists (footage of the squid being pulled to the boat begins at the 1-minute mark).

Giant squid are elusive creatures that occupy the dark ocean depths. They’re believed to have spawned sea monster myths among ancient mariners, and have been featured as predatory beasts in novels and films.

They can measure to about 40 feet and weigh nearly a ton.

Read the full story here.


Oct 11 2013

Beachgoers in Spain discover 30-foot giant squid

Beachgoers in the Spanish community of Cantabria were astonished Tuesday when they stumbled onto the carcass of a giant squid that had washed ashore almost fully intact.

The deep-sea denizen—the fabled and mysterious Architeuthis Dux—measured 30 feet and weighed nearly 400 pounds.

It was delivered to the Maritime Museum of Cantabria, where it was cleaned and frozen, while a decision is awaited between museum scientists and the government as to what will be done with the colossal cephalopod.

(According to El Diario Montanes, there has been some argument regarding ownership, and it remains unclear whether the squid will be put on display, eventually, or dissected in the name of science. According to some reports it was initially to be simply cremated.)

Regardless, the discovery was remarkable, considering that giant squid, although they’re the largest invertebrates on earth, are extremely elusive and, thus, difficult to study.

They generally reside at depths of between 1,000 and 3,000 feet, and most of what scientists have learned has come from carcasses that have washed ashore, and rarely are entire carcasses found.

However, scientists are persistent in their quest to learn more. In 2004, Japanese researchers captured the first known live images of giant squid. In 2006, a team of Japanese researchers brought to the surface a live female squid measuring 24 feet.

The mysterious creatures, meanwhile, remain steeped in lore.

In the times of ancient mariners, Architeuthis Dux, which resides in the lightless depths of all of the world’s oceans, is believed to have spawned tales of sea monsters, such as the legendary Kraken.

Architeuthis Dux was one of the vicious creatures in Jules Verne’s classic science fiction novel, “Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea.” (First published in 1870; made into a Disney movie in 1954.)

Read the full story and see additional photos here.

Giant squid images are courtesy of Enrique Talledo. Note the size of the eye

Jan 6 2013

Giant Squid Invade Off Dana Point Coast

DANA POINT, Calif. (KTLA) — Giant squid have been appearing along the Dana Point coastline in recent weeks.

Most of the squid, known as Humboldt squid, weigh between 3 and 5 pounds.

However, local fishermen have been known to catch squid weighing as much as 25-pounds in the past.

The last giant squid run was in Sept. 2011, according to Donna Kalez, general manager of Dana Wharf Sportfishing.

Most of the squid have been found 3 to 4 miles from the harbor and about 2 miles off the beach.
Watch video here


Jul 5 2011

Florida Fishermen Catch 25-Foot-Long Giant Squid, Offering Rare Opportunity to Study Elusive Creature

By Alisa Opar

Giant squid are creatures of the deep ocean. So it was quite a surprise when recreational fishermen spotted one floating on the surface some 12 miles off of Florida’s Jensen Beach on Sunday. They hauled the 25-foot-long dying invertebrate on to their 23-foot-long boat. “I thought we definitely need to bring it in, because no one’s going to believe us if we don’t,” said Robert Benz, who was fishing with friends Joey Asaro and Paul Peroulakis. “I didn’t want to leave it out there and just let the sharks eat it.”

University of Florida researcher Roger Portell injects preservative into a 25-foot-long giant squid Monday night. Photo: Jeff Gage, University of Florida/Florida Museum of Natural History

On Monday scientists at the University of Florida’s Florida Museum of Natural History preserved the squid, which died shortly after it was found. John Slapcinsky, the museum’s malacology collection manager, explained that giant squid reproduce just once in their lifetime, and then often become lethargic and die slowly. That’s probably what happened to this animal, as it was discovered barely alive near the surface. The finding offers a rare opportunity to learn more about the elusive creatures, which can grow to be 60 feet long, top 1,000 pounds, and have pigment cells on their white-and-red skin that allow them to rapidly change color, presumably for communication or camouflage.

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