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Danna StaafRSS Feed of this column.

Cephalopods have been rocking my world since I was in grade school. I pursued them through a BA in marine biology at the University of California, Santa Barbara, followed by a PhD dissertation at... Read More »

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Squids are mercurial, unpredictable creatures of extremes.

Call them abundant, call them quite rare
It depends on the climate--the sea and the air
One species expands, another contracts
These are the data, these are the facts
Sometimes it feels like they're growing too fast
But it helps them respond and it's why they can last
Through environmental change . . . 
The Humboldt squid's "invasion" of California has been a sophisticated series of move and counter-move. They're here, then they're gone; they're big, then they're small.

I've explained--and Professor Gilly has explained in greater detail--how these animals have probably been reacting to environmental change. But if you'd rather watch a short video than have to read all that stuff, KGO-TV will oblige you:
Before you get too horrified, let me clarify: they were squid babies, and the shopping cart was underwater. 
I learned about the discovery from NewsTalkZB, which reports that at an aquarium in Wellington, 
30 squid are expected to hatch tonight. Discovery programme manager Julian Hodge says the squid were found in a discarded shopping trolley during a clean-up of Wellington Harbour three weeks ago.
Nearshore squid normally lay their eggs on surfaces like rocks or sand or shells, but they will just as happily lay on manmade surfaces like pier pilings, beer bottles, and . . . shopping carts.

You can't make this stuff up.

A new paper in the African Journal of Marine Science turned me on to the genus Lycoteuthis, an open-ocean squid just bristling with light organs. According to Vecchione and Young:
Presumably they exhibit considerable bioluminescent courtship behavior which, unfortunately, has never been observed. 
Oh man, talk about fireworks! Wouldn't it be incredible to be the first person to witness Lycoteuthis courtship? I may have a new goal in life.

Yesterday I complained that none of the articles about the New Zealand squid fishery had any quotes from fishing reps. I had only to wait 24 hours for my complaint to be answered!
Today's squid news comprises four journalistic angles on the same story. See if you can figure out what it is: