For the first time, researchers have captured footage of a giant squid in the waters off the coast of the US. The animal was recorded at a depth of around 2,500 feet in waters around 7,250 feet deep. The two-week research mission in the Gulf of Mexico was funded by NOAA’s Office of Ocean Exploration and Research.
It’s only the second time the oversized cephalopod has ever been caught on film. The first, in 2012, used the same technology that was deployed in the latest discovery—a special camera, known as Medusa, designed to film underwater primarily using red light, which deep sea creatures like the giant squid can’t typically detect. The camera system was created by Edie Widder, the founder of the Ocean Research and Conservation Association, and she was part of both teams that filmed the creature.
The camera was deployed five times, each generating 24 hours of video, giving a total of over 120 hours of footage to review. So when Widder’s colleague Nathan Robinson started to make out a tentacle on the screen, they were overcome with excitement about their history-making discovery. The Medusa system incorporates a lure that is designed to replicate the bioluminescence of a jellyfish, the squid’s favored prey, and the dramatic way the squid stikes at the lure is an interesting indication of its hunting practices.
“We know so little about how these animals survive in the depths,” Widder told CNN. “This helps us learn something more about how they hunt and their energy budget, but we need to know a lot more.”
Watch the groundbreaking video below.
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