Menus Subscribe Search
Giant squid

Cracking the Kraken Case: Giant Squid Caught on Film

• January 07, 2013 • 5:49 PM

Giant squid

A screen grab from the team’s cameras of a vibrant giant squid in its natural habitat. (PHOTO: NHK/NEP/Discovery Channel)

An ocean-going SWAT team of oceanic brainpower and technological brawn says it has captured moving images of a marine monster in its lair. In a PSMag.com article last July we detailed what would be the successful attempt to capture the elusive Architeuthis dux, AKA the giant squid, on video. Writer Ben Hellwarth noted:

Architeuthis dux has mostly been seen dead or dying after washing up on shore, or when inadvertently caught up in commercial fishing nets. It has almost never been witnessed swimming freely, feeding, or otherwise going about its cephalopodic business in its natural environment. Consequently, far more is known about the behavior of a creature like, say, Kim Kardashian, than about the world’s largest [up to 45 feet long] invertebrate.

Since the squid tends to swim in the open ocean at depths starting at 400 feet deep, with plunges to a half mile, the animal’s privacy was pretty well kept – until now. A team from the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology, the Discovery Channel, and Japanese broadcaster NHK says it has cracked the kraken case by visiting the eight-armed beastie at home, and has the tape to prove it. (With two of the partners TV networks, you’ll have to wait until January 27 to see their evidence.)

The expedition focused on an area more than 500 miles south of Tokyo around the Ogasawara Islands, rightly believed to be a prime hangout for the squid; the sighting comes from the vicinity of Chichi-Jima, the largest island in the archipelago. (World War II buffs may recall the islands as the Bonins.) The team brought three submersibles with them, and those undersea craft made all the difference; Discovery says the mission saw more than 55 dives resulting in more than 285 hours searching and filming in the deep deep.

In addition to hardware, the team had some of the top squid researchers on the planet, including the wild Kiwi marine biologist Steve O’Shea, eminent zoologist Tsunemi Kobodera, and oceanographer Edie Widder, CEO and senior scientist at the Florida-based Ocean Research & Conservation Association. Kobodera waxed eloquent in talking to AFP about the discovery:

“It was shining and so beautiful. I was so thrilled when I saw it first hand, but I was confident we would because we rigorously researched the areas we might find it, based on past data.”

Kubodera said the creature had its two longest arms missing, and estimated it would have been eight metres long if it had been whole. He gave no explanation for its missing arms.

Michael Todd
Most of Michael Todd's career has been spent in newspaper journalism, ranging from papers in the Marshall Islands to tiny California farming communities. Before joining the publishing arm of the Miller-McCune Center, he was managing editor of the national magazine Hispanic Business.

More From Michael Todd

A weekly roundup of the best of Pacific Standard and PSmag.com, delivered straight to your inbox.

Recent Posts

September 16 • 4:00 PM

Why Is LiveJournal Helping Russia Block a Prominent Critic of Vladimir Putin?

The U.S. blogging company is showing an error message to users inside Russia who try to read the blog of Alexei Navalny, a prominent politician and critic of the Russian government.


September 16 • 2:00 PM

Man Up, Ladies! … But Not Too Much

Too often, women are asked to display masculine traits in order to be successful in the workplace.



September 16 • 12:00 PM

What Makes You So Smart, Brilliant 12-Year-Old?

Charles Wang is going to rule the world.


September 16 • 10:09 AM

No Innovation Without Migration: The Harlem Renaissance

The Harlem Renaissance wasn’t a place, but an era of migration. It would have happened even without New York City.


September 16 • 10:00 AM

A Law Professor Walks Into a Creative Writing Workshop

One academic makes the case for learning how to write.



September 16 • 7:23 AM

Does Not Checking Your Buddy’s Facebook Updates Make You a Bad Friend?

An etiquette expert, a social scientist, and an old pal of mine ponder the ever-shifting rules of friendship.



September 16 • 6:12 AM

3-D Movies Aren’t That Special

Psychologists find that 3-D doesn’t have any extra emotional impact.


September 16 • 6:00 AM

What Color Is Your Pygmy Goat?

The fierce battle over genetic purity, writ small. Very small.



September 15 • 4:00 PM

The Average Prisoner Is Visited Only Twice While Incarcerated

And black prisoners receive even fewer visitors.


September 15 • 2:00 PM

Gambling With America’s Health

The public health costs of legal gambling.


September 15 • 12:23 PM

The Scent of a Conservative

We are attracted to the body odor of others with similar political beliefs, according to new research.


September 15 • 12:00 PM

2014: A Pretty Average Election

Don’t get too worked up over this year’s congressional mid-terms.


September 15 • 10:00 AM

Online Harassment of Women Isn’t Just a Gamer Problem

By blaming specific subcultures, we ignore a much larger and more troubling social pathology.


September 15 • 8:00 AM

Atheists Seen as a Threat to Moral Values

New research attempts to pinpoint why non-believers are widely disliked and distrusted.


September 15 • 6:12 AM

To Protect Against Meltdowns, Banks Must Map Financial Interconnections

A new model suggests looking beyond balance sheets, studying the network of investment as well.


September 15 • 6:00 AM

Interview With a Drug Dealer

What happens when the illicit product you’ve made your living off of finally becomes legal?


September 15 • 4:00 AM

A Feeling of Control: How America Can Finally Learn to Deal With Its Impulses

The ability to delay gratification has been held up as the one character trait to rule them all—the key to academic success, financial security, and social well-being. But willpower isn’t the answer. The new, emotional science of self-regulation.



September 15 • 2:04 AM

No Innovation Without Migration: Do Places Make People?

We know that people make places, but does it also work the other way?


September 12 • 4:00 PM

Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Plastic Bags

California wants you to pay for your plastic bags. (FYI: That’s not an infringement on your constitutional rights.)


September 12 • 2:00 PM

Should We Trust the Hearts of White People?

On the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act, revisiting a clip of James Baldwin on the Dick Cavett Show.


Follow us


3-D Movies Aren’t That Special

Psychologists find that 3-D doesn't have any extra emotional impact.

To Protect Against Meltdowns, Banks Must Map Financial Interconnections

A new model suggests looking beyond balance sheets, studying the network of investment as well.

Big Government, Happy Citizens?

You may like to talk about how much happier you'd be if the government didn't interfere with your life, but that's not what the research shows.

Give Yourself a Present for the Future

Psychologists discover that we underestimate the value of looking back.

In Soccer as in Art, Motifs Matter

A new study suggests a way to quantitatively measure a team’s style through its pass flow. It may become another metric used to evaluate potential recruits.

The Big One

One in three drivers in Brooklyn's Park Slope—at certain times of day—is just looking for parking. The same goes for drivers in Manhattan's SoHo. September/October 2014 new-big-one-3

Copyright © 2014 by Pacific Standard and The Miller-McCune Center for Research, Media, and Public Policy. All Rights Reserved.