Giant “squid” in Chile scares vacationers

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Posted by on February 27, 2006 at 06:14:53:

The emergence of a 1.7 meters long cuttlefish in a Puerto Montt beach, south of Chile caused panic Sunday among vacationers, reports the Chilean press

Apparently an eight year old girl was swimming in the Chinquihue beach when she began screaming for help. Several people went to her rescue and came across the giant cephalopod at waist depth, which they “stoned” to death and later pulled to the beach.

The incident with the approximately fifty kilos cuttlefish was reported to authorities who called for a local marine biologist.

Cristina Rodríguez from the Oceanography Department of the local university said the specimen was a Dosidicus gigas which approached the Chilean coast because at this time of the year the sea water temperature surges as much as two degrees.

“Sea water in the coast of Puerto Montt at this time of the year varies between 12 and 16 degrees which causes the cuttlefish to move in”, said Ms. Rodriguez. The marine expert forecasted that coastal fishermen will be the most affected in the coming weeks because of cuttlefish stranded in their nets and long lines. “This is not an isolated event, so we can expect to come across many more specimens in coming weeks”.

Ms Rodriguez described the Dosidicus gigas as an very aggressive species that feeds on fishes.

“He’s a big devourer of fish so local fishermen will be the most exposed if as happened in the Eighth Region, more precisely in Tomé, these cephalopods take over the beaches”, explained Ms Rodriguez to Puerto Montt press.

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