Scientists have captured video images of a giant squid in its natural habitat deep in the ocean for the first time.
The 9ft squid, which was missing its two longest tentacles, was spotted in waters east of Chichi Island about 600 miles south of Tokyo and followed to a depth of almost 3,000ft.
Little is known about the creature because its harsh environment makes it difficult for scientists to conduct research. Specimens have washed ashore on beaches but never before have been filmed in their normal habitat deep in the ocean, researchers say.
Japanese zoologist Tsunemi Kubodera, who was on board a submersible at the time of the encounter, was able to lure the giant squid with a normal-sized diamond squid.
All the lights from the submersible were turned off while they waited. The giant squid appeared and wrapped its arms around the bait, eating it for over 20 minutes before letting go.
"What we were able to gain from this experience was the moment of the giant squid attacking its prey - we were able record that," said Mr Kubodera, who has been researching the giant squid since 2002.
The squid was filmed from the submersible during one of 100 dives in the Pacific in a joint expedition by Japanese public broadcaster NHK, Discovery Channel and Japan's National Museum of Nature and Science.
NHK released photographs of the giant squid this week ahead programmes on the expedition. It said a high-definition camera was developed for the project that could operate deep in the ocean and used a special wavelength of light invisible to the giant squid's sensitive eyes.