Scientists and broadcasters in Japan say they have captured footage of an elusive giant squid up to eight metres long that roams the depths of the Pacific Ocean.
Japan's National Science Museum succeeded in filming the deep-sea creature in its natural habitat for the first time, working with Japanese public broadcaster NHK and the US Discovery Channel.
They spotted the squid at a depth of 630 metres using a submersible in July, some 15 kilometres east of Chichi island in the north Pacific Ocean.
The submarine with three people on board, including Tsunemi Kubodera from the museum, followed the enormous mollusc to a depth of 900 metres as it swam into the ocean abyss.
NHK showed footage of the silver-coloured creature, which had huge black eyes, as it swam against the current, holding a bait squid in its arms against the backdrop of dark oceanic depths.
The creature was about three metres long, but “estimated to be as long as eight metres if its two long arms had not been chopped off”, Kubodera said.
"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."
He gave no explanation for its missing arms.
He said it was the first video footage of a live giant squid in its natural habitat - the depths of the sea where there is little oxygen.
Kobudera, a squid specialist, also filmed what he says was the first live video footage of a giant squid in 2006 but only from his boat after it was hooked and brought up to the surface.
He said the two successful sightings of the squid —in 2012 and 2006— ere both in the same area, some 1,000 km south of Tokyo, suggesting it could be a major habitat for the species.
The giant squid, Architeuthis to scientists, is sometimes described as one of the last mysteries of the ocean, being part of a world so hostile to humans that it has been little explored.