Beware the jumbo flying squid
July 18, 2009 11:08 PM   Subscribe

Divers [have been] spooked by tales of assault as swarms of aggressive jumbo flying squid invade the shallows off San Diego. No, not the return of Cthulhu; it's just a swarm of Humboldt squid. Here's a rather long talk with video images by one of the world's experts on these vicious nightmares.
posted by Joe in Australia (43 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

 
Should squidfilter be a phrase that's use? I'm fascinated by molluscs and I get the impression that other MeFites are too.
posted by christhelongtimelurker at 11:34 PM on July 18, 2009


Preview should definitely be used...
posted by christhelongtimelurker at 11:35 PM on July 18, 2009


Yar, have ye tried a Baltic Squid? They can suck the bolts out of a submarine's hull!
posted by uncanny hengeman at 12:01 AM on July 19, 2009 [2 favorites]


No, not the return of Cthulhu...

I dunno. Sounds like a good first step in making everyone go crazy.
posted by Evilspork at 12:13 AM on July 19, 2009


160 squid recipes.
posted by dejah420 at 12:33 AM on July 19, 2009 [2 favorites]


swarms of aggressive jumbo flying squid invade the shallows off San Diego.

Those squid appear to be fast and bulbous.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 12:42 AM on July 19, 2009 [4 favorites]


Oh man... I hope my wife doesn't read this (even though I might tell her about it anyway).

According to the wiki article: "They have also ventured into Puget Sound.[4]"

We just started sailing in Puget Sound. While we were out the last time, my wife noticed lots of large jellyfish just a few feet below the surface. She wasn't too keen on that.

I can't imagine how she'd take to the thought of huge, aggressive squid below her.
posted by Netzapper at 12:44 AM on July 19, 2009


Actually, upon further reflection, I don't know how kindly I take to the thought of it.
posted by Netzapper at 12:45 AM on July 19, 2009 [2 favorites]


I can think of few things I'd rather have on my tombstone than "He died fighting off a swarm of jumbo flying squid"
posted by Nomiconic at 1:09 AM on July 19, 2009 [5 favorites]


In other news, much of California's 2009 deficit was found to be due to the Governator's purchase of several hundred tons of cornflake batter, butter, and red sauce.
posted by Schlimmbesserung at 1:23 AM on July 19, 2009 [2 favorites]


Video of Humboldt Squid in Orange County, June 2007.
posted by Korou at 1:23 AM on July 19, 2009


Aggressive mollusks? That's fucked up, man.
posted by ryanrs at 1:38 AM on July 19, 2009


mollusks

Are they mollusks? I thought they were cephalopods...
posted by A Terrible Llama at 3:55 AM on July 19, 2009


Oh, okay--mollusk is the phylum and cephalopod is the class.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 3:57 AM on July 19, 2009


A few years back, I watched an incredibly bizarre episode of show called The Future is Wild, which used lots of CGI and lots of extrapolation to investigate what the post-human world would be like millions of years from now.

The episode I saw was 'The Tentacled Forest', in which squid had adapted into land-dwellers, swinging through the tress like hideous eight-limbed monkeys, or stomping along the forest floor in the form of titanic cephalopoid elephants.

I found it on Youtube (one, two, three), and would advise watching it, on the off-chance that this squid invasion is ONLY THE BEGINNING.
posted by permafrost at 3:57 AM on July 19, 2009 [4 favorites]


I first misread the post as saying "Drivers [had been] spooked" and then I pictured giant flying squid splattering against cars as they drove down some picturesque seaside California highway.
posted by cropshy at 4:14 AM on July 19, 2009 [4 favorites]


Scott Cassell's stories about his interactions with the Humboldt squid were just fantastic, particularly the recollection that starts around 13.47 of his very first dive. Thanks for the great video.
posted by sleep_walker at 4:35 AM on July 19, 2009


No, not the return of Cthulhu...

Instead, see H. G. Wells's short story "The Sea Raiders", in which a Devonshire seaside tourist spot is menaced by a coastal invasion of similar squid, except his, Haploteuthis ferox, have acquired a taste for human flesh. It's one of his most effective, a turn-of-the century "Jaws" except with tentacles. Humboldt squid could be the next shark in terms of "just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water" paranoia. Divers say that they'd rather be dropped in the middle of a shark feeding frenzy than a Humboldt one - they'd have a chance with the sharks, none with the squid.
posted by Doktor Zed at 5:30 AM on July 19, 2009 [2 favorites]


Drivers [had been] spooked

Ditto. I was wondering exactly how far these things could fly.
posted by elfgirl at 6:08 AM on July 19, 2009


Enormous, vicious flying squid -- if ever a thread merited the verboten Zalgo effect, it's this one.
posted by FelliniBlank at 6:16 AM on July 19, 2009


When you say invaded, is this like all those times I've invaded my bathroom? I mean, it's not like I spend that much of my time there, but hey, it's my house.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 6:18 AM on July 19, 2009 [2 favorites]


They're Temporarily Humboldt County squid.
posted by tommasz at 6:41 AM on July 19, 2009


Dangit, this post sucked me into another wikipedia-time-void.
But learning the term "abyssal gigantism" makes it all worth it. And some nice pics:
Giant Isopod!
7-Arm Octopus! (esp. fig. 2)
King of Herrings!
I'll stay on the boat, thanks.
posted by damo at 6:52 AM on July 19, 2009


This ties in perfectly with the recent attempted land invasion. I'm telling you, they're coming for us. They're attacking the divers because they're the only ones that can reach the squids fortified evil lair. Once the divers are taken care of (watch the news for any reports of Navy SEAL disappearances), we'll be totally defenceless.

The squid are coming. Those who fail to stock up on breading, oil, and marinara sauce now will be sorry later.
posted by Ghidorah at 6:57 AM on July 19, 2009


A third bit into his chest, and as he tried to protect himself he was gang-dragged so quickly from 30 to 70 feet that he didn't have time to equalize properly, and his right eardrum ruptured.

Good freaking God, what a diver's nightmare. The only squid I've ever seen while diving are these little dudes. Happily, they couldn't drag you an inch even if they wanted to.

In that same article as I quoted, they mention Alex Kerstitch's encounter; I think I read an account of that in Ranger Rick (I know, I'm dating myself!) -- I remember that bit about the gold chain being yanked off. I was horrified and fascinated by Humboldts even then.

Honestly, I'm not sure whether I'd dive with them or not. Obviously it'd depend on who I was with and what kind of safety equipment was available. Part of the problem is that I'm kind of tiny; can I even dive with chainmail, or would that load on too much weight? Plus, hell, the squid would be bigger than me.

I have to say I'm not that impressed that Cassell's group's method of attracting groups of Humboldts involves harming and killing them (or allowing them to be killed as a result of their actions, at least). Being responsible towards the environment is an intrinsic part of being a recreational diver.

Although I will say it was better than the massacre described here. But I do wonder at how Cassell can describe the English company's actions as "murder" and then start jigging squid himself.


On preview: awww, but giant isopods are so cute! They're just fist-size roly-polys, really. I've kinda wanted one as a pet. As for the king of herrings/oarfish, they're completely harmless and quite beautiful. I really want to see one someday.
posted by bettafish at 7:50 AM on July 19, 2009


The animals taste with their tentacles, he said, and seemed to be touching him and his wet suit to determine if he was edible.

This is not the carnivore order on the food chain that I seek.
posted by Devils Rancher at 8:15 AM on July 19, 2009 [2 favorites]


yesssssssss
posted by The Whelk at 8:16 AM on July 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


So these squid are 100 pounds and "can swim up to 15 mph and can skim over the water to escape predators"?!? Can anyone find a video of that (I have failed so far)... that should be amazing to see!
posted by deliquescent at 9:12 AM on July 19, 2009


I think it's perfectly reasonable. The squid are fed up. Fed up, I say. The state of CA is bankrupt and is doing nothing for them; they're taking matters into their own hands. They're like "OK, that's enough. Get the fuck out of our shallows off San Deigo."
posted by Nicholas West at 9:26 AM on July 19, 2009


Locals rule!
posted by Crabby Appleton at 9:42 AM on July 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


Piglet squid smiles for the camera
posted by homunculus at 9:49 AM on July 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


Korou posted: Video of Humboldt Squid in Orange County, June 2007.

I could be mistaken, but it appears as though those divers stuck a glowstick up the bum of a squid. Now, I'm not one to start global war, as a rule, but if someone wandered into my house, and stuck a rave toy where a rave toy did not belong, I might be tempted to gather some friends and get even.

I'm just saying...abuse the squid at your own peril.
posted by dejah420 at 11:38 AM on July 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


No Cthulhu? :(
posted by jeffburdges at 12:14 PM on July 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


Be careful. The cephalopods can hear you....
posted by Kronos_to_Earth at 12:48 PM on July 19, 2009


I heard that they were not really viscous, in fact they only behave aggressively when they are under attack, for instance when fishing boats are robbing their food and/or catching them. They do canibalise, but that is not a concern for anyone other than themselves.

They are communicate with each other and show signs of group intelligence. Which is certainly something we could learn from.
posted by asok at 1:43 PM on July 19, 2009


Here's a song I wrote about Humbolt Squid
posted by lumpenprole at 3:15 PM on July 19, 2009


I heard that they were not really viscous, in fact they only behave aggressively when they are under attack, for instance when fishing boats are robbing their food and/or catching them. They do canibalise, but that is not a concern for anyone other than themselves.

Incorrect, asok. All of them that I have handled are quite viscous.

In fact, most mullosca are downright slimy.
posted by IAmBroom at 3:45 PM on July 19, 2009


Permafrost, those Squiggen were horrifying.

I'm going diving tomorrow and will pummel anything that moves. Including sentient algae and beer cans
posted by monocultured at 3:55 PM on July 19, 2009


Apparently the jellyfish are taking the other side of the Pacific.
posted by elfgirl at 4:20 PM on July 19, 2009


Clearly this can only be the UCSD Air Squids.

/ex-squid.
posted by RikiTikiTavi at 11:17 AM on July 20, 2009


Divers wanting to observe the creatures often bait the water, use a metal viewing cage or wear chainmail to avoid being lashed by the creature's tentacles.

Yeah, nothing about this seems like a good idea to me. But, y'know, I'm funny like that.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 12:19 PM on July 20, 2009


No Cthulhu? :(

Yes Cthulhu. :€
posted by FatherDagon at 12:20 PM on July 20, 2009


You're so vicious!

; p
posted by asok at 3:20 PM on July 20, 2009


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