Rare images of giant squid captured in Australia

Check out this angler's lucky find!

Al McGlashan, an Australian fishing writer, made an amazing find off the coast of Australia. We are well aware of the existence of the giant squid, but sightings are few and far between. McGlashan came across the recently deceased corpse of a giant squid floating at the surface of the ocean. The ten-foot carcass was in the process of being eaten by an eight-foot long blue shark, so McGlashan clearly arrived at just the right time.

The biggest surprise of McGlashan's video is the squid's bright orange coloration. Most squid carcasses that wash up are a ghostly pale grayish off-white, but McGlashan's squid is a bright shade of salmon pink.

For a long time, our only knowledge of the giant squid (Architeuthis sp.) came from circumstantial evidence. For centuries, whalers had observed that sperm whales frequently had circular scars on their skin, scars sometimes the size of dinner plates, which could presumably be from the sucker of a very large squid. Also, sperm whales' stomachs often contained extremely large squid beaks. And finally, sperm whales were known to spend most of their time hunting in the extreme depths of the ocean.

Assuming that the squid that the sperm whales were eating was the same proportions as the other squid we are familiar with, it was easy to speculate that sperm whales were diving in order to eat squid, which were orders of magnitude larger than those that were known to science.
 
Large carcasses were also sometimes recovered from the depth or washed up onto beaches. Most of these were pretty rotten, and missing lots of parts that could provide valuable information, like the animal's true length. It's surprising how little we know about an animal this large and this abundant. (Clearly there are a lot of giant squid in the world, if they are able to sustain the population of sperm whales.) 
 
It wasn't until the last decade or so that the giant squid was actually observed live. The first images of a live, healthy giant squid in the wild were taken in 2004 off the coast of Japan. A team of researchers fitted a camera to a fishing line and essentially went fishing for the giant squid. They chose waters where sperm whales were known to frequently feed, and caught a 26 foot-long giant squid, both on the lure and on camera. (The poor squid's tentacle was torn off by the hook, but this allowed the researchers to positively identify the squid with a DNA match.)
 
Credits: 

Still frame courtesy of YouTube/almcglashan