Tasmania's journal of discovery

Giant squid captured — on film

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Giant squid, like something straight out of Jules Verne’s novel, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, have been washed ashore on Tasmania’s coast many times. In fact, Tasmania is something of a hot spot for giant squid, according to David Pemberton, senior curator of zoology at The Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery.

But to date, all the specimens seen here in Tasmania, in New Zealand and a few other places around the world, have been dead.

Until now. The giant squid above was captured on film by Japanese scientists. The carcass below was found on a Tasmanian beach.

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Until last year, no giant squid had ever been sighted in the wild. That changed when Japanese scientists used sperm whales as guides to where they might find these enormous animals. Their successful recording of a live giant squid has just been released to the world.

It had been thought that a live sighting would be in the depths of the sea and so it proved to be — 900 metres beneath the North Pacific Ocean — so deep no daylight filters through.

The giant squid photographed here is estimated to be at least 8 metres (25 feet) long, judging from the tentacle the squid lost in its battle to free itself from the baited fishing line lowered by the scientists.

To relate it to what we do know about giant squid from their remains on Tasmania’s coast (a giant female was the last find, washed ashore on Seven Mile Beach, near Hobart Airport) see the links below.

The Tasmanian Connection

Oliver Robb, Shelley Powers & Liz Turner explore the myths, facts and fantasies surrounding Architeuthis dux, a creature of the deep that can truly raise a stink. There’s a lot more to it here, here and here … and, of course, there’s the saga of Squidly.

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