(NEW YORK) — The elusive giant squid has never been captured on film — until now.
Discovery and Japanese partner NHK captured the images of the squid deep beneath the Pacific Ocean during a mission that included more than 400 hours in the abyss, more than 100 sub dives (some at depths greater than 3,000 feet), and a crew of scientists, engineers, technicians and submarine pilots.
“This latest production, four years in the making, is a world-first achievement for television, and I’m excited to share it,” Eileen O’Neill, group President of Discovery and TLC Networks, said in a news release Monday.
The giant squid has for years been at the center of numerous fantastic tales of the sea.
Nearly as long as a school bus and weighing up to a ton, the squid’s eight arms and two tentacles are covered in barbed suction cups, which it uses to force prey — fish, other squid and possibly small whales — into its razor-sharp beak.
The footage will be aired for the first time in the Discovery Channel’s Monster Squid: The Giant is Real. The program premieres on Discovery at 8 p.m. ET Jan. 27, and will serve as the season finale for Discovery’s Curiosity series.
NHK will air its special on the giant squid on Jan. 13.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Paul Cruickshank and Michael Pearson, CNN