Two previous expeditions, both of which involved Kubodera, have returned still photographs of a giant squid in the deep and video footage of one at the surface. Numerous dead specimens have also been collected around the world. But, Kubodera says, the up-close, extended view was like seeing an entirely new animal. He believes giant squid hunt looking up, to detect faint silhouettes, so he attached one of the animal’s prey, a diamondback squid, to the front of the sub as an attractant, but also used a lighted squid jig.
Clyde Roper, a giant-squid expert and zoologist at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington DC, says that the encounters answer longstanding questions. For instance, the giant squid was thought to be fairly passive, but the vigorous bait attacks show that it is actually a very strong swimmer and feeder.
“This has gone a long, long way to helping us understand this animal,” says Roper, “They did just a marvelous job.”