A mysterious sea creature, up to 7 feet long, weighing up to 100 pounds. It hunts in packs of hundreds, flying through the water at 25 mph, changing color.
With a parrot-like beak and arms covered with thousands of sharp barbs, it attacks and tries to eat nearly anything it sees, including fish, scuba divers, even its own kind.
But it’s not a creature of Hollywood. It’s real. And it’s reached the Monterey Bay. The Humboldt squid, also known as the giant squid or jumbo squid, traditionally has lived in warm waters off South America and Mexico, where fishermen call it “diablo rojo,” or “red devil.”
For reasons that still aren’t entirely clear, large numbers of the scrappy cephalopods have been steadily expanding their range north, first off San Diego and Los Angeles, where hundreds have washed up on beaches in recent years.
Now they appear to have taken up residence in Monterey Bay, according to a study released today by researchers from Stanford University and the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) compiled with more than 16 years of underwater video.
“When it moves into an area, it can potentially have drastic impacts,” said Louis Zeidberg, a post-doctoral researcher at Stanford’s Hopkins Marine Station in Pacific Grove. “We’ve yet to see how that is going to play out, but it could change things.”
Zeidberg said some restaurants, such as Rosines in Monterey, have begun to put Humboldt squid on the menu.
“A lot of people find it kind of tough and kind of gamey compared to traditional calamari, but I like it,” he said.
Zeidberg or Zoidberg?
Throughout the series, Zoidberg usually refers to himself, and is referred to by others, as a lobster. In an early episode, Zoidberg falls in love with an actual lobster in a nightclub aquarium. In the episode When Aliens Attack, he finds himself trapped in a lobster cage, but is rescued by Bender. However, he does refer to himself as a squid commenting, “Oh what a foolish squid I’ve been.”