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The Case of the Clandestine Cephalopod

The best camouflage you will ever see. This guy comes out of cloak like a startled Romulan warbird, then fires (ink) and hurriedly makes off for a more, ahem, neutral zone. (Also does a great imitation of a walking rock.)

octopus-1.jpg octopus-2.jpg

Unknown Object

Crikey, they're fast! www.dianeduane.com/outofambit/2011/08/06/the-case-of-the-clandestine-cephalopod via bynkii

Aug 8, 2011 under Squidwatch

Giant Swarm of Squid Surrounds Underwater Photographer

They were using me as a source of protection! Was this a good thing?

We’ll go out on a limb: no. It’s never a good thing to be surrounded by squid, are you mad? http://www.bluewaterjon.com/article/article12.html

Jul 5, 2011 under Squidwatch

Poke them with a sharp stick

Or even a dull stick, it'll have the same effect.


A newfound chemical drives male squid berserk, and the molecule appears similar to ones seen in humans, scientists now say.

No kidding. csmonitor.com/Science/2011/0210/Scientists-discover-how-to-make-squids-go-completely-berserk

Mar 7, 2011 under Squidwatch

“Dodge”, or, you know, “attack from behind”....

A British photographer captured a particular type of squid which use jet propulsion to leap out of the sea and fly up to 65ft.

The squid actually fly looking backwards, with their tentacles dangling behind them and fins acting like wings, keeping them balanced in the air.

Now, note it doesn't say whether that jet propulsion is natural, or whether they, you know, are making advanced aeronautics under the sea.... http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1338220/Graham-Ekins-Japanese-squid-photos-leap-air-dodge-predators.html

Dec 16, 2010 under Squidwatch

Spoiler: FACT


To escape predators in the ocean, these cephalopods will speed away by shooting a jet of water. But can squid use that behavior to take to the air and control their trajectories?

Marine biologist Silvia Maciá was boating on the north coast of Jamaica in the summer of 2001 when she noticed something soar out of the sea.... It was a squid—and it was flying.

With her husband and fellow biologist Michael Robinson, Maciá identified the airborne cephalopod as a Caribbean reef squid (Sepioteuthis sepioidea)—a lithe, torpedo-shaped critter with long, undulating fins. They think the squid was startled by the noise of the boat's outboard engine and estimated that the 20-centimeter-long mollusk reached a height of two meters above the water and flew a total distance of 10 meters—50 times its body length. What's more, the squid extended its fins and flared its tentacles in a radial pattern while airborne, as though guiding its flight.

Now just scale that up to the colossal or giant squid, and it’s totally like Cloverfield in here.... scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=can-squid-fly

Nov 2, 2010 under Squidwatch

The answers are actually quite straightforward....


GREENFIELD, Calif. -- A big rig carrying 15,000 pounds of squid turned over in a field of broccoli early Tuesday after crashing into a ditch outside Greenfield.

It is unclear where the truck carrying the squid was coming from or headed.... It is unclear what caused the crash.

But here are the critical things that aren’t clear:

  1. Where the squid driving, or merely passengers?
  2. Does “15,000 pounds of squid” mean one, or more than one?
  3. Where the squid alive or dead at the time of the crash?

Someone knows, and isn’t telling: ksbw.com/news/25004943/detail.html

Bonus best part of the article: the note at the bottom to “Stay with KSBW.com for more on this developing story”: because it’s not like anything else important is happening today.

Sep 29, 2010 under Squidwatch



Goin’ all the way down.....http://lostworldsfairs.com/atlantis/

Sep 17, 2010 under Squidwatch

“The squid can reach frightening sizes”

My Dear Sir: — The following account of a remarkable marine monster, which made its appearance off the shores of this island, and of a severed arm or tentacle of the same, now in my possession, will I dare say be interesting to you, and also to Prof. Agassiz, to whom I should like to offer it.

Mess with the giant squid enough, and your skull will be full of stars, and then mulched into tiny, star-like fragments, not in the stars: http://scientopia.org/blogs/skullsinthestars/2010/08/04/attack-of-the-giant-squid-1874/

Aug 5, 2010 under Squidwatch

Rest well, Paul, you’ve earned it

Paul, the octopus who became a pop culture sensation by correctly predicting the outcome of as many World Cup matches as he has legs — all seven of Germany's games plus the Spain-Netherlands final — is going to retire.

The intuitive invertebrate will "step back from the official oracle business," Tanja Munzig, a spokeswoman for the Sea Life aquarium in Oberhausen, told AP Television News.

"He won't give any more oracle predictions — either in football, nor in politics, lifestyle or economy," she said. "Paul will get back to his former job, namely making children laugh."

Funny, there wasn't too much laughter from the Germans when Paul called for Spain in the semis.... Still, how often to we get to have an argument about whether a celphalopod is “psychic” or “precognitive”? http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100712/ap_on_re_eu/eu_germany_octopus_oracle

Jul 12, 2010 under Squidwatch

Squid gets Canada Post's stamp of approval

I know I will be buying a lifetime supply, and ration them out for years to come:

A famous Newfoundland sea monster will soon occupy a space normally reserved for Canada's Queen.

Glover's Harbour's giant roadside squid statue has been chosen to appear on a new Canadian stamp.

"For a little town of Glover's Harbour to be picked? Shocking," said resident Cathy Haggett.

The 16.8-metre piece is based on a massive squid that washed up on the shore near Glover's Harbour in 1878. It put the tiny town in the Guinness World Records book.

Next summer, a stamp baring its image will be licked and slapped on envelopes that could end up in any corner of the globe. Haggett believes it will be a big draw for the area.

Haggett joked Canada Post might want to hire more staff in Glover's Harbour, because when the stamp comes out, residents plan to start mailing letters to everyone they know … and even some they don't.

I'm thinking, even better than a stamp, that would make an awesome playground (if it isn't already). www.cbc.ca/canada/newfoundland-labrador/story/2010/07/09/nl-squid-stamp-709.html

Jul 9, 2010 under Squidwatch


Just what it sez: SquidCam

Jul 2, 2010 under Squidwatch


The Colossal Squid Exhibition


Simply fantastic, and fantastically horrifying: squid.tepapa.govt.nz

Jul 2, 2010 under Squidwatch

If it’s us vs. them, it sounds like they’re winning. What worries me is, what do they want?

Giant squid ‘taking over world’ [excerpts]

By Simon Benson

Giant squid are taking over the world, well at least the oceans, and they are getting bigger.

According to scientists, squid have overtaken humans in terms of total bio-mass.

That means they take up more space on the planet than us.

Squid are now regarded as the “major player” in the world oceans by sheer volume alone.

Dr George Jackson from the Institute of Antarctic and Southern Ocean studies in Tasmania said squid thrived during environmental disasters such as global warming.

The animal ate anything in that came their way, bred whenever possible and kept growing.

The Food and Agricultural Organisation of the UN supports the theory claiming squid landings have been increasing over the past 25 years at greater rates than fish.

Read the full article at http://www.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,4057,4811363^13762,00.html. Though undated, apparently it comes from 2002.

Jul 2, 2010 under Squidwatch

Tis the Season to be Squishy

Order all the horror at cafepress.com/orderofstnick.194679201.

Dec 25, 2009 under Squidwatch

Awesome, yet horrible (or horrible, yet awesome)


A female sperm whale, carrying a piece of giant squid in her mouth, leads a gargantuan dinner party in the northwestern Pacific on October 15, 2009.


Chow down at: news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2009/10/photogalleries/giant-squid...

Oct 30, 2009 under Squidwatch

In my day, we’d call that “151”


"Normally, these squid are found in at least 200 metres of water, but these immature squid probably came near the surface, perhaps encountered colder water or currents and became stranded on the beach."

Because of course, it’s all a matter of “maturity”.... Please also note the multiple references to “predators” in the horrific description: www.timescolonist.com/technology/Squid+stranded+Tofino+shore/1861540/story.html Oops, they removed the horror. See http://www.gotofino.com/tofinosquidtofinobeaches.html

Oct 29, 2009 under Squidwatch

Not exactly “squiddy”, but you can’t really say what it is just yet....


A giant shark that could be up to 20ft long has sent shockwaves across Australian beaches after a great white was nearly bitten in half.


Chow down at: hnews.sky.com/skynews/Home/World-News/Shark-Mauls-Great-White....

Oct 27, 2009 under Squidwatch

Well, that’s a lousy way to start the day....


Dozens of dazed Humboldt squid that were about three to four feet long and weighed close to 40 pounds were flapping around on La Jolla Shores beach.

Flash Animation

Flapping because they’re also known as the “jumbo flying squid”: www.nbcbayarea.com/news/local/Giant-Squid-Wash-Up-Minutes-After-SoCal-Quake--.html

Jul 13, 2009 under Squidwatch

A whole whack (and we do mean “whack”) of squid videos


Just horrible.


See the horror at www.darkroastedblend.com/2009/02/awesome-octopi-cephalopods-from-outer.html

Feb 28, 2009 under Squidwatch

See, this is what I’ve been saying all this time....


Over the last few years, we have meticulously detailed the likelihood that the Age of Man will soon give way to the Age of Cephalopod. They are much larger, they are much stronger, and have unique swivelling hooks on the clubs at the ends of their tentacles. More importantly, they are much smarter than we are as evidenced by the facts that they have avoided The Great Regression entirely, they have positioned themselves to benefit from Global Warming


See the future at longorshortcapital.com/the-real-systemicrisk-cephalopods.htm

Feb 12, 2009 under Squidwatch

I don't think they were playing volleyball, but you never know....


The six-metre long, 230-kilogram squid was still alive when it was netted by commercial fishermen last night.... Bob McPherson of the local sport and Game Fishing Club says it is not the first squid netted off Portland, but it is the largest.


See the horror at www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2008/05/26/2256117.htm

May 26, 2008 under Squidwatch

Colossal squid has giant eyes

A rare, colossal squid weighs 1,100 pounds and has eyes that measure 11 inches across.

Watch the horror at www.cnn.com/video/#/video/world/2008/04/30/new.zealand.giant.squid.ap

Apr 30, 2008 under Squidwatch

Oddly, the answer is pretty much “Dear God, no!”


Desperate to know how squid mate? Curious to see the squishy innards of squid?


Choice pun, possibly intended:

12 noon
Squid Dissection with the Seattle Aquarium
1 pm
Learn about cutting-edge, real-time ocean observation technology with Professor of Oceanography John Delaney

Is Leonard Nimoy involved?

Read all the horror at burkemuseum.blogspot.com/2007/09/squids.html.

Sep 30, 2007 under Squidwatch

How many “much’s” is that?


The colossal squid, only recently discovered, is shorter than the giant squid but much, much nastier.

Which is not to imply that the giant is particularly easygoing....

Read all the horror at www.theage.com.au/articles/2007/07/11/1183833568590.html.

Jul 11, 2007 under Squidwatch

No, not the Whopper that comes with fries and a shake.... Well, maybe a shake.



  • Squid as long as a bus washes up on an Australian beach
  • Zoologists describe the find as a "whopper"
  • Giant squid live in waters off southern Australia and New Zealand

Is it just me, or are they really reaching on those "highlights"? Bonus: could the "big" in the URL there be at all the same as "giant" or "colossal"? Or is this a whole new beast?

Read all the horror at www.cnn.com/2007/TECH/science/07/11/big.squid.ap/index.html.

Jul 11, 2007 under Squidwatch

Even I would never have guessed this one....

UH Researchers To Investigate 'Octosquid' [excerpt]

Scientists at the University of Hawaii at Manoa will soon have a chance to investigate a creature that appears to be half squid, half octopus that was found in waters off the Big Island.


Sounds a bit Pythonesque: "half squid, half octopus, three-quarter badger, all man...."

Read all the horror at www.thehawaiichannel.com/news/13630402/detail.html?rss=hon&psp=news. Horrifying picture included.

Jul 5, 2007 under Squidwatch

Jumboes on the move....


"Bringing them up in droves....", "Not all good news" — how is any of this good news?

View all the horror at http://www.cnn.com/video/partners/clickability/index.html?url=/video/tech/2007/06/06/johnson.ca.jumbo.squid.kcal.

Jun 6, 2007 under Squidwatch

Man, Steve O’Shea is like the Dick Cheney of the squid world....


A fishing crew has caught a colossal squid that could weigh a half-ton and prove to be the biggest specimen ever landed, a fisheries official said Thursday.

If calamari rings were made from the squid they would be the size of tractor tires, one expert said.

The squid, weighing an estimated 990 pounds and about 39 feet long, took two hours to land in Antarctic waters, New Zealand Fisheries Minister Jim Anderton said.

Colossal squid, known by the scientific name Mesonychoteuthis hamiltoni, are estimated to grow up to 46 feet long and have long been one of the most mysterious creatures of the deep ocean.

If original estimates are correct, the squid would be 330 pounds heavier than the next biggest specimen ever found.

"I can assure you that this is going to draw phenomenal interest. It is truly amazing," said Dr. Steve O'Shea, a squid expert at the Auckland University of Technology.

Colossal squid can descend to 6,500 feet and are extremely active, aggressive hunters, he said.

It's the "active, aggressive hunters" part that keeps me up at night.

Read all the horror at www.cnn.com/2007/WORLD/asiapcf/02/22/colossal.squid.ap/. Horrifying pictures included.

Feb 22, 2007 under Squidwatch

Or, it could be the other way ’round....


A Japanese research team has succeeded in filming a giant squid live -- possibly for the first time -- and says the elusive creatures may be more plentiful than previously believed, a researcher said Friday.

The research team, led by Tsunemi Kubodera, videotaped the giant squid at the surface as they captured it off the Ogasawara Islands south of Tokyo earlier this month. The squid, which measured about 24-feet long, died while it was being caught.

The captured squid was caught using a smaller type of squid as bait*, and was pulled into a research vessel "after putting up quite a fight," Kubodera said.

"It took two people to pull it in, and they lost it once, which might have caused the injuries that killed it," he said.

The squid, a female, was not fully grown and was relatively small by giant squid standards.

* This means they're cannibals as well, as if they weren't creepy enough....

Read all the horror at www.cnn.com/2006/TECH/science/12/22/giant.squid.ap/. Horrifying video included.

Dec 22, 2006 under Squidwatch

Of course it’s named “Archie”....


A monstrous giant squid, Architeuthis dux , goes on display at the Natural History Museum this week.

horrible slimy giant squid

The 8.62-metre squid, called Archie, was caught off the coast of the Falkland Islands in March 2004. Visitors to the tank room of the Museum's Darwin Centre can view it as part of the behind-the-scenes Explore tours.

Scientists know very little about these creatures and much of what we do know comes from the remains of dead or dying specimens, many retrieved from the stomachs of sperm whales.

Archie is not the largest specimen ever caught, that record belongs to an 18.5-metre specimen caught in Island Bay, New Zealand in 1880.

Archie was caught live and is almost complete making it a very important specimen for research. Initial investigations suggest that Archie is female although this will be confirmed by future study.

The giant squid is the second largest living invertebrate, the first being the Mesonychoteuthis hamiltoni , the colossal squid...

Read all the horror at http://www.nhm.ac.uk/about-us/news/2006/feb/news_5255.html

Feb 28, 2006 under Squidwatch

First of many, methinks:


Rare video footage shows a giant octopus attacking a small submarine off the west coast of Vancouver Island.

Salmon researchers working on the Brooks Peninsula were shocked last November when an octopus attacked their expensive and sensitive equipment.

The giant Pacific octopus weighed about 45 kilograms, powerful enough to damage Mike Wood's remote-controlled submarine with its parrot beak.

Wood's first reaction was to panic, knowing the marine creature can exert a powerful bite. "That's when I hit reverse and I'm just blasting him with sand and particles," said Wood, who runs Suboceanic Ocean Science Services in Duncan, B.C. "Finally he lets go and disappears off into the gloom."

"It was desperation. It's a $2,000 machine, and it's not insured."

The rare footage, which has just been released, is believed to be the first documented attack on a sub.

No one knows what caused the octopus to attack. It may have been curious, looking for a meal or a girlfriend, said Jim Cosgrove of the Royal B.C. Museum.

None of us, of course, can really understand the octopus mind, so the quest for motivations is perhaps misguided—maybe they’re just vicious man-killing murderers of the deep....
Read the rest at http://www.cbc.ca/story/science/national/2006/01/27/octopus060127.html.

Jan 27, 2006 under Squidwatch

Literally, a “feast” for the eyes:

First pictures of live giant squid in its natural habitat [excerpt]

The first ever pictures of a live giant squid in its natural environment have been snapped in deep water off Japan. Working with a cheap camera and a fishing boat, the two Japanese researchers have succeeded where millions of dollars and international film crews have failed.

“This is very exciting. These pictures are a major leap forward for us,” says squid expert Mark Norman of Museum Victoria in Melbourne, Australia.

Tsunemi Kubodera of the National Science Museum in Tokyo and Kyoichi Mori of the Ogasawara Whale Watching Association in Tokyo collected more than 550 digital images taken over more than four hours. These show the squid repeatedly attempting to detach a bait dangling beneath the camera, which was at a depth of 900 metres.

feeding tentacle
The total length of the giant squid’s feeding tentacle is thought to be about 5.5 metres (Image: Royal Society)

I’d just like to point out that “5.5 meters” is about 3 times the height of the average adult human being.
Read the rest at http://www.newscientist.com/article.ns?id=dn8064. Or, for a more technical overview of the horror, read this (PDF, 700kb).

Sep 25, 2005 under Squidwatch

Not a squid, exactly, but almost as horrid (or, in this case, breaded ’n’ deep-fried)


A bizarre crustacean, tagged the 'musical furry lobster', has been found in Australian waters for the first time.

It's so unusual, with a furry shell and the ability to chirp, that scientists have placed it in its own genus.

But the lobster was almost lost to science.

Rumour has it the French researchers who discovered the world's first specimen in the 1980s didn't realise its significance. So, they ate it for dinner.

Read the rest at http://www.abc.net.au/science/news/stories/s1409156.htm

Jul 7, 2005 under Squidwatch

Oh, it’s clear all right


Jan. 20, 2005 | Newport Beach, Calif. — Hundreds of giant squid are washing up on Orange County beaches, creating a scene more akin to "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea" than "The O.C."

The bug-eyed sea creatures, believed to be Humboldt squid, normally reside in deep water and only come to the surface at night. Why approximately 500 of them began washing up on the sands of Laguna Beach and Newport Beach on Tuesday isn't clear.

In the words of Kent Brockman, let me be the first to bow down to our new squid overlords. Can I point out I’ve never eaten calamari?

On a stylistic note, I quite like the use of “believed” in the second p, instead of, oh, say, “thought”—“believed” indicates perhaps that the squid just told the reporter they were indeed Humboldt squid, no harm here, ha ha, and the gullible reporter just said “well, golly, they sure look trustworthy, can’t see why not believe ’em....”

Read the rest at http://www.salon.com/news/wire/2005/01/20/jumbo_squid/index.html

Jan 20, 2005 under Squidwatch

Can it get weirder than this—


Police in Peru have seized about 700kg of cocaine hidden in frozen giant squid bound for Mexico and the US.

The drugs - worth about $17.5m - were sealed in several layers of plastic and other wrapping material and covered in pepper to divert sniffer dogs.

Police seized the drugs hidden in a container of 25 tons of giant squid about to leave Paita (Piura) for Mexico.

Interior Minister Javier Reategui said that police operations had uncovered a drug-trafficking organisation using a fish-exporting company.

Read the full article at http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/4016291.stm.

Nov 16, 2004 under Squidwatch

Squid catch stuns scientists

I’m trying to imagine three more horrifying words than "jumbo", "flying", and "squid", but I just can’t. That’s the last thing I need, to be walking along, minding my own business, and whack, hit in the face by some slimy, eight-armed creep. You’ll notice that the article below doesn’t mention the range of these beasts—is anywhere safe?


Friday, October 15, 2004 Posted: 8:24 PM EDT (0024 GMT)

SITKA, Alaska (AP) — A large Humboldt squid caught offshore from Sitka is among numerous sightings of a species seen for the first time in waters of the Far North, and the first of the species recovered from British Columbia waters.

The 5-foot Dosidicus gigas, or jumbo flying squid, was shipped this week to California to be kept for research at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History.

The farthest north the species has been reported until this year was off the coast of Oregon in 1997, said James A. Cosgrove, manager of natural history at the Royal British Columbia Museum. Before that year, the farthest north it was seen was near San Francisco, he said.

Until this summer, there have been no other sightings in the north, Cosgrove said.

“It’s unprecedented,” he said. “It speaks of a fundamental change in the ocean along the coast.”

The museum is keeping a 6 1/2-foot, 44-pound Dosidicus gigas in a formaldehyde tank. The purple-bodied cephalopod with eight sucker-covered arms and two curly tentacles was caught October 2.

Read the full article at http://www.cnn.com/2004/US/10/15/flying.squid.ap/index.html

Oct 15, 2004 under Squidwatch

Does it get more ominous than this

McSweeney’s: [Kat Bolstad] said: “We know there is at least one other very large squid in the Antarctic, known exclusively from large beaks and small individuals, and it’s also possible there are squid down there so big and mean that not even a sperm whale will go near them.” Does this squid have a name? Is it bigger than the Colossal?

[Dr. Steve O’Shea, Senior Research Fellow at Aukland University of Technology]: It is something we are keeping under wraps at present.... There’s plenty down there to explore and discover yet, including some things that will be rather frightening or formidable.

Earlier, the interviewer got things off on what can only be called a sensible note:

McSweeney’s: How long would it take a Colossal [squid] to eat me?

Bolstad: Well, if the Antarctic waters didn’t kill you pretty much straight off the bat, you’d be looking at being restrained by those eight hooked arms as long as it took the squid to slice you into bite-sized pieces with its beak, then rasp the pieces small enough to fit down the esophagus, using the radula, a cartilaginous toothed tongue behind the beak. It would take a while. You’d probably rather drown.

Boy, no kidding.

Interview with Steve O’Shea and Kat Bolstad in McSweeney’s No. 11.

A long profile on Steve O’Shea is was also available from The New Yorker. Also, an interview with David Grann from the same issue.

May 24, 2004 under Squidwatch