Researchers have captured the first-ever video footage of a live giant squid

It is the wellspring of such mythical monsters as the the Kraken, but the giant squid Architeuthis is the real deal. Carcasses of the massive cephalopods have been found washed ashore all over the world, but now, for the first time in history, scientists have captured footage of the beastie thousands of feet below the ocean waves, in its native deep-sea habitat.

"Researchers around the world have tried to film giant squid in their natural habitats, but all attempts were in vain before. It was shining and so beautiful," Tsunemi Kubodera, a squid expert and researcher for Japan's National Science Museum told AFP. "I was so thrilled when I saw it firsthand, but I was confident we would because we rigorously researched the areas we might find it, based on past data."

"Past data," indeed; Kubodera and his colleagues had spent upwards of 400 hours — logged across 100+ missions — plumbing the depths of the Pacific in search of the behemoth, before teaming up with Japanese public broadcaster NHK and the US Discovery Channel.

When the collaboration finally came upon the mega-mollusk, it was in a submersible rig at a depth of 630 meters, about 9 miles off the coast of Chichi Island. Featured above is a screen grab from footage of the creature, which researchers estimate would have measured an impressive eight-meters in length had it not been missing its two longest arms. In its amputated state, the team guesses the squid measured a still-intimidating 3 meters.

With this footage, which is scheduled to air during documentaries on NHK and the Discovery Channel later this month, Kubodera says his team hopes "to discover more about the life of the species." We'll obviously keep you posted as that footage becomes available.