The elusive giant squid has never been captured on film. Until now.
Discovery and Japanese partner NHK captured the images of the squid deep beneath the Pacific Ocean during a mission that included more than 400 hours in the abyss, more than 100 sub dives, some at depths greater than 3,000 feet, and a crew of scientists, engineers, technicians and submarine pilots.
"This latest production, four years in the making, is a world-first achievement for television, and I'm excited to share it," Eileen O'Neill, group President of Discovery and TLC Networks, said in a news release Monday.
The giant squid has for years been at the center of numerous fantastic tales of the sea.
Nearly as long as a school bus and weighing up to a ton, the squid's eight arms and two tentacles are covered in barbed suction cups, which it uses to force prey - fish, other squid, possibly small whales - into its razor-sharp beak.
The footage will be aired for the first time in the Discovery Channel's "Monster Squid: The Giant is Real." The program premieres on Discovery at 8 p.m. ET Jan. 27, and will serve as the season finale for Discovery's "Curiosity" series.
NHK will air its special on the giant squid Jan. 13.