Dozens of Jumbo Squid Wash Up On California Beach

By Allison Bond | July 13, 2009 5:48 pm

No one knows why dozens of jumbo squid washed up on a southern California beach on Saturday, although an earthquake occurred in the area about an hour earlier. Still, experts don’t know if there’s a link between the ‘quake and the beached squid.

The conundrum has puzzled the area’s residents, including one woman who said she’d never seen anything like it in the 42 years she’d lived in the area. The jumbo squid do venture into shallower depths at night, according to LiveScience:

During the day, the somewhat mysterious jumbo squid are known to descend to lower depths in the ocean to rest, slowing down their metabolism to deal with the lower oxygen levels there. At night, they return to well-oxygenated waters nearer the surface to feed.

Beachgoers tried to throw back the squid, which measured up to four feet long, before seagulls could feast on them. But for many of the marine creatures, the attempt was futile.

Check out this video of the stranded squid:

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  • The Sine

    LiveScience says they were jumbo squid, not giant squid.

  • Romeo Vitelli

    I hope someone breaks the news gently to PZ Myers.

  • Sean Huntington

    they look like humbolts-that would be about the right area

  • Business101

    Had that been in Asia there would be no signs of them as soon as they got there! Dinner!

  • netwrok

    The quake probably released gases that the squid couldn’t handle. What a truly puzzling conundrum.

  • n Callus

    Wow, that is very sad dude! Sad inded!


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  • JScook

    They threw them back? That was pretty nice of them as I wouldn’t have touched one.

  • Jumblepudding

    Now the Nautilus will be safer. Just kidding, this is awful. Why did they try to throw them back? Because they smelled or because they still had signs of life?

  • Pingback: Giant squid wash up on California beach | The Daily Inquirer()

  • Allison Bond

    Hi, this is Allison, the author of the post. The Sine, the term “giant squid” was meant only to convey the sheer size of the creatures (they can, after all, measure up to seven feet long), not a technical or species name. But to avoid confusion, we’ve changed the title of the post.

  • asian

    Yum! This would taste great grilled with oyster sauce, garlic, onions, tomatoes and ginger. Not to mention beer!

  • me

    They sure look like Humbolt squid which are quite common. They are known as voracious predators and can be quite dangerous.

  • CGeers

    Humbolt squid are invading! The warming waters are thought to be the cause and as they migrate out of the Sea of Cortez they are decimating fish species in large numbers. They are thought to hunt in packs and communicate by flashing the color of their bodies. Hopefully something will keep them in check or say goodbye to many of your favorite fish dishes.

  • Sarge

    I would say commercial fishing practices has a much greater impact on fish stocks than squid.

  • Gonzobot

    Kinda sad that all these animals will just rot and be wasted. Stupid morons trying to prevent nature from happening naturally.

  • Jennifer

    I live a mile from this… yes humbolt squid. They are always around but last time they washed up in mass was about 4-5 years ago with no earthquake. These guys have beaks! and are effecting the divers. ouch!

  • David

    @ CGeers…
    Of course, let’s everyone blame it on “global warming” Of course there couldn’t be a more logical explanation or maybe even a scientific reason for them beaching themselves

    @ Gonzobot…
    I agree. If these squid are so dead-set on beaching themselves, I say let’s throw some logs on the beach, light ’em up and let’s gorge ourselves on some squid. Completely idiotic to let perfectly good squid to rot.

  • The Sine

    Allison says:

    >> the term “giant squid” was meant only to convey the sheer size of the creatures (they can, after all, measure up to seven feet long), not a technical or species name.

    Sorry about that. Geeks hate it when you get their obsession wrong. 😉

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  • Lucy

    What beach?! Surely that is important information!

  • jim

    earthquake or nuclear weapon test????

  • Singe

    I suspect overfishing of the oceans is as much to blame as global warming is for the Humbolt’s changing distribution. Taking out as many fish as we do opens up the food chain to competing species in the similar niches such as certain jellyfish and cephalopods.

  • Pingback: Large Squid Washed Up On A California Beach After An Earthquake. « Beer Can Hill()

  • Atom

    Lol @ Allison Bond, way to not own up to a minor naming error and move on… Wouldn’t matter if this wasn’t Discover magazine. In your defense, local fishermen here are openly referring to them by multiple incorrect names, so the buzz is misleading. Concensus trap, wiki-syndrome.

    -I’m pretty sure I would have eaten those “presents” deposited on shore. Earthquake consolation prize… I’ve hand-caught flounder at the waterline in florida during storms that way. 😛 -Safer not to, they could have been diseased, but the deep fryer beckons.
    To anyone who wants to swim with them, jumbo squid are in fact dangerous, the beak/mouth/ is very strong, and if you are close enough to care, chances are the squid is already mildly irritated with you. I can’t imagine the kind of infection you could get from a squid bite.


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