Massive squid dropped off at Redondo fish market

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Posted by on March 18, 2005 at 17:30:49:

In Reply to: Giant squid again on Orange County beaches posted by on March 18, 2005 at 06:38:20:

The 4-foot-long Humboldt mollusk, more commonly found from South America to Mexico, was caught by a fisherman a few miles offshore.

Even the creature's slimy, dripping tentacles couldn't make John Mills squirm.

Just hours after a local fisherman dropped off a 4-foot-long Humboldt squid at his fish market Thursday morning, Mills hoisted the massive mollusk up for lunchtime visitors and boasted about its size and strength.

"You wouldn't want these things pulling you in," said Mills, owner of Captain Kidd's fish market at King Harbor.

Though thousands of the creatures have been spotted recently along Orange County beaches, local fishermen say they've been slower to show their bulging black eyeballs along the northern shoreline.

But some surmise Thursday's catch of the Dosidicus gigas -- jumbo squid, for short -- could be proof the mollusks are making their way north.

In addition to the 19-pounder hooked a few miles offshore in Redondo Beach, a handful were also spotted this week near San Pedro, said Jeff Landesman, a marine biologist with Cabrillo Marine Aquarium.

"It is kind of unusual," Landesman said. "These guys usually aren't found up there."

Humboldt squid typically swim in warm, deep waters, he said, and are more prevalent from South America to Mexico.

He didn't have an easy answer for their recent appearances in Southern California.

But some marine biologists theorize they're feeding on small fish that eat microscopic plankton called diatoms, which contain levels of domoic acid that may cause them to become disoriented. That could be one reason they're swimming in less-charted waters, he said.

Mills, who last saw a jumbo squid in Redondo Beach about two years ago, said he doesn't get many customers requesting Dosidicus gigas.

Much more popular are the smaller "California squid" that go for $1.99 a pound.

"We really don't buy it because there's not much of a market for it," Mills said.

But as customers ogled the Humboldt squid's squishy mass and slid their fingers over its slippery tentacles, he said he'd keep the creature around for a little while at least.

Even if it was just for display.

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