More than 1,500 jumbo squid — common to South America — have washed onto Orange County beaches over the last few days, leaving marine experts perplexed as to why so many of these torpedo-shaped mollusks have traveled so far north.
“We’ve known that there’s something peculiar going on with those species,” said John McGowan, professor emeritus at Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla and one of the leading oceanographers on the West Coast.
Dotting Crystal Cove State Park beach up to Newport Beach, the creatures with their elongated, gooey-looking tentacles and oversized heads have caught beachgoers off-guard, said Eric Bauer, Newport Beach lifeguard captain.
“They look like a miniature sea monster, something you’d see out of a Jules Verne novel,” he said.
Unlike their smaller cousin — known to most people as calamari — the beached and mostly juvenile pink and black creatures are about 3 feet long and 5 to 15 pounds. The Dosidicus gigas, also known as the Humboldt squid, are not recommended eating. Adults can grow to 6 feet long and weigh as much as 100 pounds.
I’ll say that’d catch me off guard. The pictures are truly revolting.