Giant Squid Invade San Diego!
Thousands of Humboldt Squid, also known as Giant Squid, Jumbo Squid or Flying Squid, have recently been spotted off the coast of San Diego, California. Some have washed up dead on the shore and others have been observed in the water by divers. This is unnerving because Humboldt Squid aren't native to the area and have been known to attack humans.
Native to the deep sea off the coast of Mexico, it's unusual for Humboldt Squid to have migrated in such large numbers to the shallow waters of the Southern California coast. Scientists are concerned, but not necessarily surprised – in recent years, small numbers of the squid have been spotted along the Pacific coast from California all the way north to Alaska. In 2005, there was a similar invasion of squid in the San Diego area and, in 2004, over 1000 dead Humboldt Squid washed up on the beach in southwest Washington state.
Humboldt Squid can grow to be five feet in length (1.5 meters) and weight over 100 pounds. They have pointy tentacles and razor-sharp beaks that can do a lot of damage to both sea creatures and human divers. In fact, they have been known to use their tentacles to pull on divers' masks, air tanks and lines.
Research suggests that the squid are only aggressive while they are feeding, although that information is of little consolation to the scuba divers who have been attacked. Humboldt Squid have even been observed to cannibalize other squid during times of extreme aggression.
Though the reason for the appearance of the squid on the California coast isn't entirely clear, some scientists have speculated that it's due to an earthquake of 4.0 magnitude that forced the squid up from the deep sea where they normally reside. Others feel that climate change could be a factor. It's likely that we won't know the true reason until more research has been conducted.