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Second giant squid landed by crew off County Kerry coast

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Media captionIrish crew hook their second 'extremely rare' giant squid

An Irish fishing crew from County Kerry has been left in "disbelief" after they landed their second extremely rare giant squid in a matter of months.

In May, the crew from the Cú na Mara landed the first giant squid, or Architeuthis dux, caught in 22 years off the coast of Dingle.

It was 5.8m (20ft) long. Tuesday's finding was a slightly smaller specimen, measuring 5.5 metres.

It was landed by the same crew during a trawl on the Porcupine Bank.

Marine biologist Dr Kevin Flannery said the landing of giant squid in Ireland is extremely rare.

"Only seven have been recorded here since records began almost 350 years ago," he told Irish national broadcaster RTÉ.

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"The very first giant squid recorded in Ireland was also landed in Dingle, when fishermen brought one ashore in 1673," he added.

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Skipper of the Cú na Mara, Patrick Flannery, said they had been trawling quite close to where they had caught a giant squid a couple of months ago.

"When we opened the net we couldn't believe it, that it was another one. The lads were very excited. What are the chances of two in the one year?"

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Mr Flannery's father, Michael Flannery, also landed two giant squid in 1995, meaning four of the seven giant squid on record have been found by members of the same family.

"I have two and he has two. I'll probably have to catch a third now so that I can have bragging rights," he added.

Giant squid remain one of the most enigmatic large animals on the planet.

Strandings of specimens recognisable as Architeuthis dux, which is thought to be the longest of all squid, date back to 1639 in Europe, but a giant squid was only first photographed alive in its natural environment in 2004.

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