Thursday, July 26, 2007

The Squid Invasion

The Humboldt squid, Dosidicus gigas, is an aggressive, voracious, and downright nasty predator which can grow up to two meters long and weigh 50 kg. While many marine species are declining, the the Humboldt squid is growing in numbers and pushing north into the coastal waters of California, consuming commercially valuable fish such as hake and anchovies. An article in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences documents how these squid were known only from equatorial waters until 1997, when they started appearing off California. Now they are showing up in increasing numbers, with still-unclear consequences for prey species, human fishermen, and competitors like sharks and sea lions.

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