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Last Updated: Wednesday September 28 2005 17:17 GMT

Photos taken of live giant squid

A giant squid in seas near Japan
One of the most famous sea creatures - the giant squid - has had its photo taken for the first time in the wild.

Dead giant squid have been washed up on beaches a number of times in the past, but this is the first time an adult live one has been captured on film.

A group of Japanese scientists tracked down the squid by following the only creature that eats them - sperm whales.

The deep sea pictures show squid are much more active and violent than first thought when attacking their prey.

The scientists worked out where the whales went to hunt for food, and then dropped a camera attached to some bait down around 900m.

Giant squid size comparison
How a giant squid compares in size
After more than 20 attempts a squid tried to attack the bait, and when it realised it wasn't real food it escaped, but not before leaving a tentacle behind.

That tentacle was 16ft (5.5m) long, suggesting the squid is around 24ft (around 8m) long.

Once the squid had been tricked into going for the bait it took more than four hours to work itself free, during which time the camera snapped more than 550 pictures.

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