Is the Predatory Jumbo Squid Migrating North?

Written by on October 15, 2009 in Marine Life, Technology

The Pacific Ocean Shelf Tracking Project announced in late September that two dozen jumbo, or Humboldt squid (Dosidicus gigas) were recently tagged off Grays Harbor, WA.  Stanford, NOAA and WDFW colleagues acoustically tagged these immense squid for the first time ever.

Humbold squid washed ashore - Wikipedia

Humbold squid washed ashore – Wikipedia

The tagging began a pilot study to assess the species’ suitability for acoustic tagging and will allow scientist to follow the squids movements as well as determine the value of on-shelf tracking capability.  If successful, the pilot should lead to larger future tagging efforts, helping inform fisheries managers about the potential impacts of northward-expanding jumbo squid ranges on other commercially important stocks.

The acoustic devices are little tubes attached to the squid and other marine life that send out signals to the listening devices in a network all along the U.S. west coast.

Humboldt Squid are carnivorous marine invertebrates that move in shoals of up to 1200 individuals and are thought to have a lifespan of only about one year, although some researchers believe they may survive up to four years.  They may grow to 2 metres (7 ft) and weigh 45 kilograms (100 lb).

This summer thousands Humboldt squid were spotted farther north than their usual habitat, off the Washington coast and Strait of Juan de Fuca.  Christopher Dunagan has explained in an article for the Kitsap Sun why researchers are looking for the motive they are so far north and how long they will stay there. They are also looking into whether they have risen up from deeper waters or if they have migrated from another area.

Read also a related article at the CBC News (link no longer active), that addresses the beaching of the Jumbo squid and the fact that the oceans are changing and with it its wildlife.

Copyright ©  2009 by Marine Science Today, a publication of OceanLines LLC

About the Author

About the Author: Celia is Director of Business Operations for OceanLines LLC and is a frequent contributor to both OceanLines and Marine Science Today. She is a certified diver and her favorite topic is marine biology, especially stories about whales. .

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