1. Anon says

    A much cooler and more informative piece than the blurb at the end of ABC news last night (and, frankly, that one was pretty cool–even if they did feel the need to hype it…)

  2. Forrest Prince says

    Range expansion, oxygen depletion zones, super predator amongst our fisheries, maybe someday they’ll be our only fishery left–

    We really do need to study this phenonenom of the Humbolt squid explosion. They could be the harbinger of a dramatic change in our oceans, sort of a canary in a coal mine type thing.

    Anyway, great video, very informative, fun to watch.

  3. Greg says

    Wow, excellent video. Beautiful in motion – the fact that they are dangerous adds an interesting component to the mix. I’ve been squid fishing before (not for these, though – you could hold the ones I caught in your hand), and even though squid has a reputation for being chewy and slimy, that’s just because it’s not fresh. Fresh, grilled squid is delectable. Thanks for sharing, PZ.

  4. Bride of Shrek says

    Absolutely fascinating. I have 2 questions

    1) I notice that all the squid pulled into the boat where red and they tended to be white when swimming around quite happily- is their colour related to aggression/dormancy periods?

    2) How long do these guys last out of water? I just wondered because they didn’t seem to be in any hurry attaching the data logger.

    Obviously I know nothing about squid but I after seeing that video, who wouldn’t want to learn more?

  5. Hypatia says

    Seen in the parking lot at USF Marine Science in St. Pete, a Darwin fish type magnet bearing tbe name Chthulu. Will be tittering all day.

  6. Robster, FCD says

    There is a great documentary that runs on Discovery every now and then where divers swim with the squid and found that they weren’t very aggressive towards humans or other humboldts when they aren’t being fished.

    I’d love to fish for these just so I could have a fresh bite of squid and a souvenir beak.

  7. kid bitzer says

    they have large brains, but as far as we can tell they’re only interested in feeding fighting and fucking.

    i don’t know. if you were to pull a dragnet through the human population, you’d probably come to the same conclusion.

    philosophers are just hard to find, whatever the species may be.

    they tend to slip through the ‘net.

  8. Peter Ashby says

    I noticed in the background while he was showing the tag on the squid his assistant is standing by some tubing with taps that seem to be feeding in around the base of the tentacles. I suspect they are at leeast passing oxygenated water or something over the mantle openings to keep the beastie functional.

  9. Sparky says

    I was just startled at the image of that huge plethora (what on earth is the proper term for a grouping of squid?) of squid. That swimming red mass, was very disturbing and eerie. (No matter how beautiful squid are, no matter how much they are just plain awesome, I still get the heebie jeebies every time I get in the water thinking they’re gonna eat me… Something tells me now I’m never swimming on the west coast)

    I’m all ready for some Humbolt. I’m surprised someone hasn’t set up an export business yet. If they’re so bountiful, and yield so much meat per critter. I’d love to buy a doormat sized squid steak and throw it on the grill. Not only a great novelty at parties, but delicious to boot.

  10. Snakelass says

    So now I know what species of squid I enjoy so much at the Korean Barbeque near College Station in Toronto! That is where we had the single Pharyngula-phile gathering here in Southern Ontario.

  11. CalGeorge says

    “Very good to eat.”

    Only a matter of time before they too are overfished?

  12. says

    Hooper: “Mr. Vaughn, what we are dealing with here is a perfect engine, an eating machine. It’s really a miracle of evolution. All this machine does is swim and eat and make little sharks, and that’s all.”

  13. Patrick says

    “”Mr. Vaughn, what we are dealing with here is a perfect engine, an eating machine. It’s really a miracle of evolution. All this machine does is swim and eat and make little sharks, and that’s all.””

    Not a terribly big surprise that Benchley wrote a book about giant squids…

    Beautiful video PZ.

    Oh and for the above poster, those Cthulhu Darwin fish are pretty easy to find. I picked mine up at DragonCon but a quick google search found them at quite a few place. They’re made by Chaosium, the group that (to my knowledge) seems to own the rights to most of the Cthulhu Mythos products.

  14. amphiox says

    I saw that documentary with the non-aggressive and even curious Humboldt when not being fished, too. But I also saw another doc on discovery channel showing them attacking a diver without any provocation at all as well. No doubt their behavior is more nuanced than we so far know.

    (I also remember seeing another doc about a truly gigantic Humboldt, as in bigger than Architeuthis, but that was part of a series that includes episodes on bigfoot and the loch ness monster, so calling it pseudoscience might be a little generous.)

  15. S. Scott says

    @Sparky – (#12) Swmming in that area is no good anyway – regardless of Humboldt’s. Water is toooooo cold!!

  16. Sengkelat says

    The squid footage was lovely.

    The footage of the deck covered in dead squid and the fishermen slicing the fins off was horrible. “Ooh, look, an interesting and unusual animal…let’s kill it!”

  17. says

    Wow, thanks for the link! We’ll be dissecting squid week after next, so my students should get a kick out of this.

    I will warn them that the boat captain’s assessment of the squid’s taxon was a load of hooey.

  18. says

    Wow, thanks for the link! We’ll be dissecting squid week after next, so my students should get a kick out of this.

    I will warn them that the boat captain’s assessment of the squid’s taxon was a load of hooey.

  19. Todd says

    Hey Bride of Shrek,

    PZ posted a video a while back showing a male squid courting a female – the side facing the female remained white (apparently a calm, sexy color) and the side facing rival males was red – an apparently aggressive color (although at depth it will appear black since red light only penetrates a few meters). I didn’t notice someone running water through the mantle as Peter mentioned (I’ll need to rewatch that) but recall that Humboldts are adapted to hypoxic conditions so they probably can handle being out of the water for some time.

    The whole hypoxia issue is really interesting – I’m looking to do my dissertation on hypoxia (or hypoxia related issues) in fish when I start my doctorate in the fall.

  20. Todd says

    Yep, Peter is right. I just re-wathced and it does indeed look like water was being pumped over the gills during the tagging.

    Peter is much more observant than I.

  21. says

    “I don’t think they spend a lot of time philosophising.”

    What a maroon. Hasn’t he ever heard of Soctopodes’ “Allegory of the Whale” as described in Sepliito’s The School, or read Aristoteuthis’ Ethica Cephalopodea?

  22. bruceJ says

    I wonder if the increasing size of the oxygen minimum zone isn’t due less to climate change than the vastly increased supply of organic matter and available nitrogen in particular, washing out of the western coasts of the US and Mexico, both as sewage and as agricultural runoff.

    This is implicated in many other ‘dead’ zones elsewhere; such as off the Gulf coast and in Long Island Sound.

    Both of those are shallow waters that tend to concentrate these nutrients, but off the coast of CA could it be possible that some sort of thermocline is funneling this stuff down to the levels where the squid hang out?

  23. Ben says

    For everyone complaining about how the fisherman calls the squid a “fish” — the term “fish” has a special technical meaning among fishermen of “a kind of thing that you catch in the ocean”, distinct from its special technical meaning in taxonomy of a member of the class ichthyes. He’s not saying he thinks it’s a chordate, he’s just saying it’s a bitch to catch and will wrap you in its tentacles and chew on you.

    Now I’m hungry. I wonder if Humboldt squid mean is available commercially in California?

  24. chuck goecke says

    First, When is a horror movie about them coming out?

    Next, I love calamari, why are Humbolt squid steaks not in the frozen section at the local Sam’s Club?

  25. Hank Roberts says

    > Marine biologists are working to discover why they’ve
    > headed north from their traditional homes off South America.

    Administrations announces plan to extend Homeland
    Wetback Defense Border Fence from San Diego to Hawaii …

  26. Kim Cox says

    OMG! I loved the video; it’s informative, entertaining, etc., but did anyone else get chills when the guy from Stanford explained WHY he thought the squid were expanding their territory?

  27. arojala says

    Squids are so over-appreciated species – too complex & slick. Slime molds man, they are hardcore and on the interesting border of single-celled & multicellular species. They’re like cellular acid moving even few centimeters a day. I once had a nightmare of fast red slime mold that ate living flesh! o_O

  28. says

    Ooh, pretty, pretty squid…. They were so very pretty, seductive illusion… until the narrator began relating their preference for low oxygen areas and the boat’s captain began describing the aggression, suckers and predatory feeding behaviours. Projection of psychological aspects continued throughout.

    Despite their preference for low oxygen zones they have big brains and we really know little about their behaviour…. Yeah. As #10 and ors have opined, bow to the new squid overlords.

    Personally I wasn’t so much interested in the pretty, pretty squid as the assumptions of superiority by the men in the vid.

  29. says

    Hey, PZ, glad to see you picked this up. There have been a number of other articles on Humboldts over the last few months, including Bill Gilly’s recent study. You might also enjoy this video from Cordell Bank NMS of squid feeding. It did take some trial and error before folks figured out how to prepare the squid steaks so they’re tender and not smelling of ammonia, but since the rockfish and salmon fisheries have been all but closed, sportfishermen have had to change their tastes and targets.