Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Giant Squid in the House!

Reader Irena Guilmette sends us this picture of her husband John in the water today at Bolsa Chica State Beach Tower 18 with a Humboldt Squid found in the surf line. This squid was estimated to be about three feet in length and weighed about 15 to 20 pounds.

“My husband was surfing … when he noticed all the kids on the beach gathered around the squid. The squid was washing to shore, but still alive, my husband grabbed it to take to back to sea,” Irena writes.

These powerful and sometimes aggressive “jumbo” squid usually dwell in deep water (600-2,300 feet), but they’ve been making an appearance recently along the OC and San Diego County coasts. In a story on the phenomenon this week, the Orange County Register’s Pat Brennan noted that scientists who study the Humboldt squid say they appear periodically in large numbers off Southern California for reasons that still aren’t clear.

Beach Blogger Laylan Connelly reminds us that in 2005, about 1500 of these squid washed ashore on OC beaches in January of 2005.

Some attribute the Humboldts’ current near-shore activity to a recent earthquake, others say the squids’ appetite for grunion causes the creatures to be so close to shore. Whatever the cause, the big squid — with their barbed suckers, sharp beaks and aggressive ways — are back in the neighborhood.

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