Friday, July 27, 2007

"...it attacks and tries to eat nearly anything it sees..."

No, it isn't Bear, but scary squids invading Monterey Bay.

via The San Jose Mercury News

A mysterious sea creature, up to 7 feet long, weighing up to 100 pounds. It hunts in packs of hundreds, flying through the water at 25 mph, changing color.

With a parrot-like beak and arms covered with thousands of sharp barbs, it attacks and tries to eat nearly anything it sees, including fish, scuba divers, even its own kind.

But it's not a creature of Hollywood. It's real. And it's reached the Monterey Bay. The Humboldt squid, also known as the giant squid or jumbo squid, traditionally has lived in warm waters off South America and Mexico, where fishermen call it "diablo rojo," or "red devil."

For reasons that still aren't entirely clear, large numbers of the scrappy cephalopods have been steadily expanding their range north, first off San Diego and Los Angeles, where hundreds have washed up on beaches in recent years.

Now they appear to have taken up residence in Monterey Bay, according to a study released Monday by researchers from Stanford University and the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) compiled with more than 16 years of underwater video.

"These are aggressive, pugnacious bullies," said Bruce Robison, senior scientist at MBARI, based in Moss Landing. "They are a sight to behold."

The invasion has sparked the interest of recreational fishermen, who fight to land them like marlins.

Full story

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