After years of searching for live giant squid and hoping to film them in their natural habitat, who would have thought that LEDs in artificial jellyfish known as E-Jelly would be part of the trick to reeling one in. Last night the Discovery Channel had its world premier of this live giant squid footage and the ten to 15 minutes of actual Architeuthis footage was totally awesome!
Interestingly, the key to luring the behemoth close enough to be filmed seemed to be the use of LEDs engineered to flash in a fashion that is similar to some bioluminescent deep-sea jellyfish. The jumbo eyes of the Giant Squid have supernatural abilities to detect light and this detail seemed to be an important one to the Giant Squid researchers especially Dr. Edith Widder.
Dr. Widder is one of the world’s foremost experts on bioluminescence, especially of the deep sea, and we’ve featured Edie Wider’s TED talks not once but twice on the blog, since her work on the bio-mimicry of natural light is a fascinating topic. Using her expertise of deep sea light and its composition spectrum and patterns, the E-Jelly she created succeeded in mimicking attractive light patterns of the deep.
Although the food bait helped in keeping their Giant Squid target sticking around, it really seems like the E-Jelly was the beacon that attracted the monster from the deep. The result was an incredible 23 minute encounter between Giant Squid, three pairs of human eyes and a few cameras recording. The many researchers and support staff involved in the successful filming of the giant squid, including Mike DeGruy, all deserve the most felicitations and accolades that the public can bestow upon them.