Posted by: tpsciencefun | February 7, 2013

Scripps Oceanography Alert

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Around the Pier: New Year Kicks Off with Jumbo Squid Invasion

On February 1, 2013 · 2 Comments

Boom of mysterious invertebrates the latest in recent string of inexplicable episodes

The most unforgettable memories Linsey Sala will come away with from a recent squid-fishing trip won’t merely include the sheer numbers of the slippery invertebrates pulled aboard during a nighttime excursion: 800 squid captured in a 45-minute span, including several that will be used for scientific examinations. Her remembrances also will include images of seeing the creatures in the wild, how they quickly changed colors out of the water from white to deep red, and the dark ink that splattered from them and coated the fishing vessel’s deck, a byproduct of the frenzied hunt.

The excursion occurred during a massive influx of jumbo squid to Southern California’s coast in January, a winter anomaly that generated news headlines across the nation.

The jumbo, or “Humboldt,” squid was first recorded in Monterey Bay in 1935. Scientists know that newborn jumbo squid, called paralarvae, can be just smaller than a grain of rice. Full-grown jumbo squid, which live a year and a half to two years, can span 2.5 meters (8.2 feet) and tip the scales at 50 kilograms (110 pounds).

For the past 12 years, strange influxes of jumbo squid seem to be occurring more commonly. Although fishing boat fleets and their squid-hunting customers are quite happy with such episodes, scientists don’t yet have a clear grasp on why they keep occurring.



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