Calamari, anyone?

More than 100 dead jumbo squid have washed up on the California coast since Sunday. Scientists haven't yet figured out why.

Humboldt squid normally live and hunt 3000 feet below the ocean's surface. This year, they seem to be swimming north from Mexico, following food sources that are bringing them closer to the surface and the shore.

Some scientists think that overfishing in Mexico may be reducing the amount of food available for the squid, forcing them to migrate into Southern California. (The squid may be confused by sand churned up by tides.)

Other scientists are studying the contents of the squids' stomachs, trying to determine if they're being poisoned somehow. (Large numbers of dead squid washed up on the shore in the same area in January, about a week after an oil spill from an undetermined source coated seabirds off the California coast.)

Research continues...

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

LG's picture
LG says:

OMG! ARE THE SQUIDS ALL THE SAME TYPE?,AGE?,ECT.................. o_( *-* )_o

posted on Mon, 03/21/2005 - 4:12pm
bryan kennedy's picture

I believe that they are all the same species of squid. These Humboldt squid can really get to be quite big as well, growing up to 6 feet long. I emailed one of the researchers about your question and will post back here if I get a response. Good question!

posted on Mon, 03/21/2005 - 4:21pm
Chuck Kopczak's picture
Chuck Kopczak says:

The individuals in these "swarms" are definitely all members of the same species of squid. The scientific name, if you are interested, is Dosidicus gigas (I've also seen it spelled Doscidicus gigas, but I haven't been able to confirm the correct spelling).

Common market squid (another species) also occur in enormous aggregations at certain times of the year, primarily for mating. Fishermen take advantage of this behavior to capture them more efficiently using lights and nets at night.

The Humboldt squid have been known to wash up along the shores of southern and central California from time to time. A search of the web found references to such events occuring in the 1930's. This is not a unique event by any means, but it nonetheless quite spectacular. In 1998 or 1999 similar mass strandings occurred near the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium in San Pedro, California where I worked. The entire beach was covered with squid.

They are amazing animals, and quite aggressive. You can find many tales from divers who claim to having been attacked by these squid.

posted on Tue, 03/22/2005 - 7:30pm
bryan kennedy's picture

Wow! Cool, thanks for that info Chuck.
bryan kennedy
Science Buzz Site Admin

posted on Wed, 03/23/2005 - 12:00am

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