Japanese scientists have taken the first photographs of one of the most mysterious creatures in the deep ocean — the giant squid. Great photos.

Until now the only information about the behavior of the creatures which measure up to 18 meters (59 feet) in length has been based on dead or dying squid washed up on shore or captured in commercial fishing nets.

But Tsunemi Kubodera, of the National Science Museum, and Kyoichi Mori of the Ogasawara Whale Watching Association, both in Tokyo have captured the first images of Architeuthis attacking bait 900 meters (yards) below the surface in the cold, dark waters of the North Pacific.

“We show the first wild images of a giant squid in its natural environment,” they said in a report on Wednesday in the journal Proceedings B of the Royal Society.

Little is known about the creatures because it has been so difficult to locate and study them alive. Large ships and specialist equipment, which is costly, are needed to study deep sea environments.

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