A story published Thursday about a monstrous radioactive squid discovered on a Southern California beach was an obvious hoax.
But this past week off Japan, an actual giant squid was captured in a fisherman’s net and died after it was hauled to the surface.
The squid in the hoax story was said to be 160 feet long and its immense size was blamed on radiation being leaked into the Pacific in the aftermath of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.
“Alarms sound over radioactive gigantism,” screamed a headline above a story that featured a photoshopped image and quoted experts who do not exist.
Though some believed the story, fabricated by the Lightly Braised Turnip website, it was easily debunked.
But the capture of an actual giant squid Wednesday off Sadogashima Island is more believable, even though squid captures are exceedingly rare.
According to the Japan Times, the male specimen measured about 12 feet and weighed about 330 pounds. The accompanying Japanese-language video shows the creature on display and being measured by scientists (footage of the squid being pulled to the boat begins at the 1-minute mark).
Giant squid are elusive creatures that occupy the dark ocean depths. They’re believed to have spawned sea monster myths among ancient mariners, and have been featured as predatory beasts in novels and films.
They can measure to about 40 feet and weigh nearly a ton.
According to the Smithsonian Ocean Portal, a giant squid was first recorded live in 2006 by Japanese scientists who used a baited hook to haul up a 24-foot squid.
In 2012, scientists from Japan’s National Science Museum and a Discovery Channel film crew filmed a giant squid in its natural habitat for the first time.
It was enticed to within view of a submersible camera by the use of glowing lowers designed to mimic sea jellies, which are said to signal squid that other food is nearby.
The capture on Wednesday was by a fisherman named Shigenori Goto, who told the Japan Times that it was found in a net used to catch buri yellowtail at a depth of 310 feet.
According to the video description, the collosal cephalopod is being studied at the Fisheries Ocean Research Institute in Niigata Prefecture.
Almost assuredly, some people will associate this rare catch with the Fukushima disaster.
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