One of the nice things about studying a big charismatic animal, like the Humboldt squid, is that you don't have to convince anyone that your science is cool. People are already interested in your science as soon as you tell them what you study. Journalists want to interview you; filmmakers want to video your animal.
Unfortunately, that last item can turn into one of the not-so-nice things. Filmmakers tend to be on a pretty tight schedule, so sometimes you'll get a call like, "We're going out on a boat on October 12th--can you find squid for us?"
And you have to be all like, "Uh, no, I can't. You'd have a better chance if you book two weeks intead of one day, and if you can go out at night, and if you can go to these particular places, but I can't promise anything."
Anyway, I suspect that's one of the reasons that if you watch the first video clip of this National Geographic show about Humboldt squid, you'll see a whole lot of pilot whales and absolutely no squid. Got to take what you can get.
Pilot whales are pretty cool, so it's still worth a look. But when they get to talking about squid, remember to keep in mind this handy guide to the differences between giants (Architeuthis) and Humboldts (Dosidicus).
It's pretty confusing, because they're talking about both species. The film crew has gone to the Gulf of California, where Humboldts live in abundance, to look for giant squid, which as far as I know no one has ever seen in the Gulf. (I'm pretty confident of that, since a giant squid beak recently found in a shark stomach was described as the first-ever record of giant squid in Mexican waters. And that was in the Pacific, not the Gulf.)
So stay on your toes! Don't trust anyone! The piece on the National Geographic show closes with this picture
captioned, "A caught giant squid thrashing in the Sea of Cortez."
And I can assure you that is a Humboldt squid, not a giant squid.
Humboldt Squid Are Still, STILL Not Giant Squid
By Danna Staaf | June 24th 2011 10:00 AM | Print | E-mail