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Fleeting Wonders: Giant Squid Surfaces in Japan

(Image: Screenshot from ANN video/YouTube)

Japan’s Toyama Bay, located around 190 miles northwest of Tokyo, is known for its bioluminescent firefly squid, which make the pre-dawn water glow a brilliant blue when they gather. But on December 24, these cephalopods’ spotlight got snagged by a distant relative—a giant squid.

As the Wall Street Journal reports, the 12.1-foot giant squid was floating around beneath fishing boats at Mizuhashi Fisherina, a Toyama marina, when a fisherman spotted it. It was a surprising sight—ordinarily, giant squids are found at a depth of between 1,650 feet and 3,300 feet below sea level. A few turn up in Toyama Bay’s fishing nets each year, but all are either dead or very close to expiring. Post-mortem squids are white, whereas the very-much-alive giant squid spotted last week was a vibrant orangey-red.

The squid’s underwater meanderings in Toyama were captured on video and broadcast on Japan’s All-Nippon News Network:

It is not clear what made the squid surface to say hi to the boat owners of Toyama, but it seems to have had a grand old time—after a full day of swimming around the bay, it was escorted out to the open ocean.

Every day, we track down a fleeting wonder—something amazing that’s only happening right now. Have a tip for us? Tell us about it! Send your temporary miracles to cara@atlasobscura.com.