Jul 28, 2009

Return of the Monster Squid

Photo via The Orlando Sentinel
They're back. Time for the invasion of the Humboldt squid off the southern coast of California.

These normally deep-sea dwelling cephalopods have come to the surface to...well, we don't know why. But they're causing quite a stir among even veteran scuba divers. Some are staying out of the water, some are going in. Here's an experience Shandra Magill had recently:

On a recent night, Magill watched in awe as a dozen squid with expressive eyes circled her group, tapping and patting the divers and gently bumping them before dashing away.
One especially large squid suspended itself motionless in the water about a yard away and peered at her closely, its eyes rolling, before it vanished into the black. A shimmering incandescence rippled along its body, almost as if it were communicating through its skin.
But the next night, things were different: A large squid surprised Magill by hitting her from behind and grabbing at her, pulling her sideways in the water. The powerful creature ripped her buoyancy hose away from her chest and knocked away her light.
When Magill recovered, she didn't know which direction was up and at first couldn't find the hose to help her rise to the surface. The squid was gone.
“I just kicked like crazy. The first thing you think of is, 'Oh my gosh, I don't know if I'm going to survive this. If that squid wanted to hurt me, it would have,” she said.

As a scuba diver myself, I can understand wanting to jump in and get a good look. As an animal with a self-preservation instinct, I also understand wanting to stay home with a bag of Cheetohs, with the comforting knowledge that I won't be eaten by a mollusk.

Thanks for the article, Ida.


Laura said...

Humboldts scare the bejeezus out of me. i can't imagine WILLINGLY getting in the water when they're around.

niner said...

Same here, faln. They are amazing creatures but I always thought they were somewhat aggressive?

Laura said...


THEY ATTACK SHARKS!! that's enough for me to keep my butt on land when they're around!

niner said...

Well, "somewhat" as in these people and people before them have been able to dive with these creatures unharmed. There are many beautiful photos on some sites.

Raging Wombat said...

Dolphins attack sharks too.

Anonymous said...

We could make a new kids game like "rock, paper, scissors" except call it "sharks, dolphins, Humboldt squid".

Raging Wombat said...

My kids would like that game. Shark: hand held vertically, perpendicular to the body, fingers pressed together (shark fin). Dolphin: hand held horizontally, palm to the side, index and pinky curled in, all other fingers straight out (dolphin face in profile). Squid: all five fingers straight out and squished together (a bundle of squid tentacles). Dolphin bludgeons shark, shark chomps squid, squid strangles dolphin.
I put too much thought into that. Sorry.

cutie s said...

@ Raging Wombat
bwahahahaha I love that you went so hard into the technical aspects of the game. Wonderful :)

You need to get on twitter!!!
and thank you :D

Unknown said...

These creatures are definitely beautiful. I am content, though, to see them while at the aquarium. They are always in a dark room and their light shows are spectacular.