Humboldt Squid Info ~ Humboldt Squid Q&A

by Robert Cheney

in Sea Life, Squid

Does the Humboldt squid go by any other names?
It also goes by the names: jumbo squid,  jumbo flying squid and diablo rojos (red devils).

Why are they called diablo rojos (red devils in Spanish) and jumbo flying squid?
Mexican shrimp fisherman fish for these squid during the off-season. When they are hooked and reeled in they turn red as a means of camouflage. Most deep-water animals cannot see red.
They are known to jump out of the water when eluding predators and they are one of the largest squid.

How big can a Humboldt squid get? 
They can reach 7 feet and a 100 lbs.

Where does the Humboldt squid get its name from?
They reside in the Humboldt current which runs off the west coast of South America. But their range extends north into California and in the last decade they’ve been spotted in the waters off Alaska. 1

How long does a Humboldt squid live for?
1-2 years. Like all cephalopods, they live short lives. They mate once and then die.

How big are  Humboldt squids?
They can reach 7 feet and weigh a 100 lbs. They are the 3rd largest squid, behind the giant and colossal squid.

Giant Homboldt Squid

Giant Homboldt Squid
– from Wikipedia

Are Humboldt squid dangerous?
They are certainly the most aggressive squid and reports of their ferociousness are plentiful. They have attacked divers, rendered underwater cameras inoperable and seem to have an attack-first mentality when encountering something unfamiliar. There are those who feel the opposite and view the Humboldt squid as a shy and rather timid.  Read more about this viewpoint here.

What does a Humboldt squid beak look like?
Razor sharp and very effective:

Humboldt Squid Beak Photo: L.A. Cicero

Humboldt Squid Beak
Photo: L.A. Cicero

Are Humboldt squid pack hunters?
They are know for hunting in tightly coordinated groups, synchronizing their attacks through communication via color changes.

What do they eat?
Anything and everything they can catch. Their diets consist mainly of fish, crabs and other squids.  They feed heavily on krill as well, often rising from the depths at night in order to feed on them.

Do they prefer shallow or deep water?
They live at depths of 600-2400 feet but have been showing up more in shallower waters in recent years. The reasons for this are varied but might include global warming, loss of predators like sharks and oxygen deprivation in deeper water.  This could be a grim harbinger for the future of the ocean.

How are Humboldt squid adapting to climate change?
Very well. They are quite adaptable and able to live in warm and cold waters. It seems they can shrink their size and spawn earlier in response to changing environmental conditions. Read more about the shrinking squid of 2011 in the Sea of Cortez.

Here is a video on the Humboldt squid:

HOW BIG DO HUMBOLT SQUID GET?humboldt squid beak

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