Ahad, Mei 15, 2005

Humboldt Squid

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The Humboldt Squid (Dosidicus gigas), also known as the Jumbo Squid or Jumbo Flying Squid, is a large, aggressive predatory squid found in the waters of the Humboldt Current in the Eastern Pacific Ocean. They are most commonly found at depths of 600 to 2300 feet, from Tierra del Fuego to California. There is some evidence that they are spreading north into the waters of Oregon, Washington, British Columbia and Alaska.

Humboldt Squid are social animals, hunting in schools of up to 1200 individuals. They swim at speeds of up to 15 miles per hour, propelled by water ejected through a hyponome (siphon) and by two diamond shaped fins. Their tentacles bear barbed suckers with which they grasp prey and drag it towards a mouth containing a large, sharp beak.

Humboldt Squid have a lifespan of only about one year, though they may grow to six feet and weigh 100 pounds. They can vary their skin colour from deep purplish red to white using chromatophores, specialized skin cells. Their colouring and aggressive nature has earned them the nickname diablos rojos (red devils) from fishermen off the coast of Mexico. The squid are fished at night, when they rise to the surface to feed. Hand-lines with luminous jigs are used to attract and catch the squid, which are sold as a delicacy in the Far East. There are numerous accounts of the squid attacking fishermen and divers in the area and cannibalistic behaviour is regularly seen.

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