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Legendary Giant Squid Captured on Video

NHK/NEP/Discovery Channel(NEW YORK) -- 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 and 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 on Jan. 13.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio