Although recent reports of an enormous, radioactive squid turned out to be false, a giant squid hauled in by a fisherman in Japan last week appears to be quite real, and quite weird.
The giant squid, a legendary sea creature rarely caught by humans, was netted by Shigenori Goto off Japan's Sadogashima Island in Niigata Prefecture, reports Grind TV.
Local video of the squid before and after its capture claims the bizarre-looking cephalopod weighs more than 160 kg (350 pounds) and measures over 4 meters (13 feet) long. With its eight, sucker-covered arms and massive eyes, it's no wonder these creatures inspired tall tales that terrified seafarers for centuries.
Goto, who was fishing for yellowtails when he made his surprising catch, noticed the huge male squid around 7 a.m., according to the Japan Daily Press. Although alive at the time of its capture, the squid died soon after coming to the surface, the fisherman said.
“When I hauled up the net, the squid slowly came floating up,” Goto said, according to the Daily Press. “This is the first time I’ve seen such a large squid.”
If it is indeed confirmed to be a giant squid, Goto's capture could be very useful for researchers.
Classified as the largest invertebrate on Earth, a mature squid can grow to twice the size of the one found in Japan.
Scientists have long struggled to study the elusive creatures in their deep-sea habitat, according to National Geographic. In 2012, researchers from Japan's National Science Museum, together with Japanese public broadcaster NHK and the Discovery Channel, became the first team to film a giant squid in its natural habitat, according to the Smithsonian National History Museum.