Man has forever been obsessed with the secrets of the ocean, whether it is the treasure, hundred years old sunken ships or the amazing marine animals, which help maintain the ecological balance of the ocean. In recent times, one such amazing marine animal has gained a lot media attention and it is known as the Humboldt squid. The Humboldt squid (Dosidicus gigas), also known as the jumbo squid, jumbo flying squid or diablo rojo (Red Devil in Spanish) is a large size predator squid found in the waters of the Humboldt Current in the Eastern Pacific ocean.
There are more than 300 different types of squid species that have been identified all around the world, but scientists believe that many more species are yet to be found and identified. Out of hundreds of squid species, the Humboldt is the main highlight of this article due to its behavioral characteristics. The following information which portrays some interesting Humboldt squid facts will help readers know many more things about this shy marine creature.
Interesting Humboldt Squid Facts
There is not much information that people can find on the Humboldt squid as it is relatively shy and aggressive towards other creatures and it usually prefers staying in shallow waters. However, this section has all the information there is on this magnificent predator.
- The giant Humboldt squid is basically a cephalopod like all other squids and belongs to the Ommastrephidae family. Many people also call it the silent monster of the deep.
- As mentioned before, the squid gets its name from the Humboldt Current in the Pacific ocean. Another interesting feature about this dangerous invertebrate is that it changes its color to red when it is angry or excited, which is why the Spanish call it the Red Devil.
- Coming to the anatomical part, like all other squids the Humboldt has bilateral symmetry, distinct head, a mantle, two diamond shaped fins for swimming and gliding, eight arms arranged in pairs, two tentacles around the mouth and a beak which is about the size of a baseball to consume food. The Humboldt squid stands at least 6 to 7 feet tall, it weighs about 100 pounds and lives only for a year. Due to its huge weight it is very tough to catch a Humboldt squid.
- Previously these squids were found only in the Humboldt Current, but according to new research these squids have started increasing their habitat range with some traveling as far as Alaska. Marine biologists and scientists blame the increase in water temperatures due to global warming and excessive fishing for Humboldt squids, the primary reasons for their habitat expansion.
- Humboldt squid is found at least 660 or 2,300 feet below the surface of the water and they usually come to the surface at nights only for hunting.
- These intelligent predators are very ferocious towards their prey and other animals. Normally, these squids feed on small fish, crustaceans, other cephalopods and copepods. Some scuba divers who are involved in constant research also say that when threatened, these squids can also attack bigger predators like sharks.
- These squids prefer living in groups, which are called 'shoals' and a single shoal can contain at least 1,200 Humboldt squids.
- When a shoal faces shortage of food, it is quite natural that they will feed on small members of their own group. This type of cannibalistic feature is rarely found in other squid species. Squids will hunt other squids but they never eat their own members.
- As they prefer living in deep waters, these squids don't have many predators but when they come up to the surface in search for food, these squids are attacked by sharks, seals, swordfish, sperm whales and marlin feed. To escape its predators, Humboldt squids often jump in the air to cover a much larger distance.
- Very little is known about the reproduction cycle of the Humboldt squids as they live in deep waters, which is very unsafe for divers. No documented proof has been given about their eggs, but some scientists say these squids bury their eggs in sand, and like every other cephalopod they reproduce only once in their lifetime.
There are mixed theories on this but normally Humboldt squids never attack humans until they feel provoked. When they feel that divers are coming very close to them, they splash out a black ink like substance. These squids are also an important food item in Italy, Mexico, US, some parts of Europe and few Asian countries. As there is not enough information about the exact population in a particular area, these species are still not protected by Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) or International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN).