Squid Fail

Point 1: The Giant Squid  is Architeuthis dux.  The Humboldt (or the Red Devil or Jumbo) Squid is Dosidicus gigas

Point 2: The Humboldt Squid while large at ~2m in length and 45kg is not as large as the Giant Squid at 10-14m in length and 200-300kg.

Point 3: The Humboldt Squid can be found at depths of 0-1000m. The Giant Squid, while its true depth range is unknown, is likely deeper, i.e. you will probably not find it in scuba diving depths.

Point 4: The Humboldt Squid is found in high densities along the California coast. You can probably see them on a dive or catch them fishing.  The Giant Squid remains elusive to scientist and the public.  You can cannot see them diving and rarely (i.e. almost never) catch them fishing.

Point 5: The Humboldt Squid is not in the same genus or indeed the same family as the Giant Squid.

Point 6: To summarize the Humboldt Squid is not the Giant Squid.

Point 7: To say a Humboldt Squid is giant is fine, to call a Humboldt Squid a Giant Squid is wrong.

Point 8: If you are a member of the press (Not the New York Times! I expected better), please get your @#$% together.  Its called research and it is is what you are supposed to do before you write your piece. You can see additional fun here. So no, thousands of Giant Squids did not wash ashore after an earthquake  and Giant Squid are not invading the waters off Southern California.

Point 9: And don’t even get me started on all that is wrong with this video. I will leave that for commentors.

Dr. M (1801 Posts)

Craig McClain is the Executive Director of the Lousiana University Marine Consortium. He has conducted deep-sea research for 20 years and published over 50 papers in the area. He has participated in and led dozens of oceanographic expeditions taken him to the Antarctic and the most remote regions of the Pacific and Atlantic. Craig’s research focuses on how energy drives the biology of marine invertebrates from individuals to ecosystems, specifically, seeking to uncover how organisms are adapted to different levels of carbon availability, i.e. food, and how this determines the kinds and number of species in different parts of the oceans. Additionally, Craig is obsessed with the size of things. Sometimes this translated into actually scientific research. Craig’s research has been featured on National Public Radio, Discovery Channel, Fox News, National Geographic and ABC News. In addition to his scientific research, Craig also advocates the need for scientists to connect with the public and is the founder and chief editor of the acclaimed Deep-Sea News (http://deepseanews.com/), a popular ocean-themed blog that has won numerous awards. His writing has been featured in Cosmos, Science Illustrated, American Scientist, Wired, Mental Floss, and the Open Lab: The Best Science Writing on the Web.

13 Replies to “Squid Fail”

  1. Well said, sir, well said.

    How long do you suppose it will be before they start calling July 2009 “The Summer of the Squid”? (Personally, I prefer “Squidvasion ’09!)

  2. I’m with Kevin. Why on earth would an earthquake be expected to cause squid to wash up? I’m not even asking for P<0.05, any kind of plausible hypothesis of how these two events could be linked would be be fascinating. Any (creative) ideas?

    Who knows what will happen when the solar eclipse occurs over the Pacific. Perhaps well will have an invasion of the real giant squid?

  3. Bizarre; there’s been no reference to the size of Humboldt squid and London double decker buses yet. Thanks Craig – this ‘giant squid’ invasion dribble drives me (more) mental!

  4. I know that another name for them is the Jumbo Flying Squid. Have they actually been observed getting airborne, or are they so named because they’re closely related to smaller ones that do?

  5. Thank you so much. As a student of Humboldt squid who was (coincidentally) in La Jolla to watch it all go down this summer, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve referenced this post. Well said indeed.

    And now NOAA’s announcement of an Architeuthis in the Gulf of Mexico has happened to coincide with media kerfuffle over Dosidicus in the Pacific Northwest, and headlines like “Giant Squid Found in Gulf, Oregon” are causing me to gnash my teeth.

    Epic squid fail.

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