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Sunday, 28 July, 2002, 14:20 GMT 15:20 UK
Jumbo squid invade California beaches
Giant squid being taken to museum in Hobart
The lone squid found in Tasmania could be a new species
Scientists in California have been baffled by the appearance of hundreds of jumbo squid which are being washed up along the San Diego coastline.

The jumbo flying squid, which are normally found in their natural habitat of the eastern Pacific Ocean, have been swarming into California waters.

Biologists are also puzzled as to why the apparently healthy squid are being washed up dead in the surf.
Jumbo flying squid
A dead jumbo flying squid washed up in California

Some believe the arrival of the squid, whose scientific name is Dosidicus gigas, is related to El Nino.

The climate phenomenon sends warm tropical waters farther north than usual, which can facilitate the arrival of unusual marine life.

Local fishing boat captain Tyler Ingram said: "The warm water coming up had some tuna, red crabs out there and it just pretty much has to do with water temperature.

"We're supposed to have an El Nino year this year so hopefully it should be a good sign for fishing."

Attraction for fishermen

Local fisherman have men flocking to the shores to haul the squid in, while many shocked bathers have moved in the other direction.

Last week, one San Pedro fishing boat brought in over 2,000 squid.

Local fisherman Chris Pappas said: "Last night was the most unbelievable - they were just swarming underneath the boat.

"They'd stop for a second and then they would all come, 30 or 40 of them each side of the boat."

Last week, Australian scientists believed they had discovered a new species of giant squid after a 250-kg specimen was washed up dead on a beach in Hobart, Tasmania.

Experts found several characteristics which they say they have never encountered before - including long, thin flaps of muscle attached to each of the squid's eight arms.

See also:

22 Jul 02 | Science/Nature
14 Jan 02 | England
21 Dec 01 | Science/Nature
03 Jul 00 | Science/Nature
14 Feb 00 | Asia-Pacific
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