Dozens of Jumbo Squid Beached After Quake--Coincidence?

July 14, 2009

Residents near a San Diego-area beach awoke to find dozens of jumbo squid, also called Humboldt squid, flapping helplessly on the shore Saturday—about an hour after an earthquake had struck off the California city at 7:34 a.m.

Raw Video (La Jolla, California, July 11, 2009)

According to local news reports, some beachgoers in the city of La Jolla attempted to throw the squid back into the water to save them from circling seagulls.

The mysterious jumbo squid stranding and the earthquake, though, are probably linked only by coincidence, experts say (jumbo squid picture wallpaper).

For one thing, scientists began finding beached squid at least three days before the Saturday earthquake, said squid expert William Gilly of Stanford University's Hopkins Marine Station.

"So unless the squid were predicting the earthquake, I don't think there's any link," he added.

(See "Can Animals Sense Earthquakes?")

Giant Squid Impervious to Quakes?

Jumbo squid can grow up to seven feet (two meters) long and weigh as much as 100 pounds (45 kilograms).

Biologists don't know of any squid bodily functions that would be affected by an earthquake. Unlike fish, for example, squid do not have air bladders, which can conceivably be compressed by an earthquake's seismic waves.

"It's hard to absolutely rule out, but it seems unlikely to me" that earthquakes could affect squid, said Danna Staaf, a Stanford marine biologist currently conducting research close to the squid stranding location.

Continued on Next Page >>


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