A Bodega Bay, Calif., fisherman hauled in an unusual catch Monday, netting a mysterious jumbo squid that was rushed to a nearby marine lab to try to keep it alive.

With its huge black eyes, the squid (species Dosidicus gigas) measured more than 4 feet long and weighed 25 pounds. It was extremely aggressive, lunging and spewing quarts of brown ink when brought to the surface.It is among the first such creatures in captivity. "So far, none have survived," said John Grissim, publisher of the ocean-news journal Marine Watch in Point Reyes Station, Calif. "This is the largest ever captured alive."

For years, scientists and volunteers at the Bodega Marine Laboratory have tried to catch a Dosidicus gigas for research and testing, but each time the traumatized creatures have lasted only a few days. Late Monday, the lab's new acquisition was swimming peacefully in 3 feet of circulating sea water. The tank, 10 feet in diameter, was covered with a tarp to provide shade.

"It looks to be in beautiful condition," said Peter Connors, reserve manager at the marine laboratory. "It seems very healthy, very lively and not injured. It's moving very slowly and smoothly."

The species is separate from the smaller squid from South America that are sold locally as calamari, or the fabled giant squids of up to 60 feet in length that have shown up in nets - dead - or washed ashore off England and New Zealand.