Huge, Hungry Squid Invade California Waters or 20,000 leagues under the sea?

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

“Captain Nemo, I think we are being attacked by a giant squid!” 

See my other article: Giant Squid Washes Up on Tasmanian Beach

MONTEREY, Calif. —  Jumbo squid that can grow up to 7 feet long and weigh more than 110 pounds are invading central California waters and preying on local anchovy, hake and other commercial fish populations, according to a study published Tuesday.

[June 4: Fishermen in Ventura, Calif., show off Humboldt squid they caught in local waters.]

An aggressive predator, the Humboldt squid — or Dosidicus gigas — can change its eating habits to consume the food supply favored by tuna and sharks, its closest competitors, according to an article published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal. “Having a new, voracious predator set up shop here in California may be yet another thing for fishermen to compete with,” said the study’s co-author, Stanford University researcher Louis Zeidberg. “That said, if a squid saw a human they would jet the other way.”The jumbo squid used to be found only in the Pacific Ocean’s warmest stretches near the equator. In the last 16 years, it has expanded its territory throughout California waters, and squid have even been found in the icy waters off Alaska, Zeidberg said.  [Full Story]