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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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Jeff writes: "[Do] squid or cephalopods have any weird parasites similar to the isopops that replace the tongues on a number of fish . . . ?"

(Heh. I am still chuckling over "isopops." Although probably coined accidentally, it is a perfect term for the tongue-replacing isopod. In fact, I'm envisioning a new line of shaped frozen treats . . .)
Okay, I know Michigan is practically an island, but that water is fresh, and there are no freshwater cephalopods (curious, yes? I will muse on that later!). So we can consider it landlocked from a squiddish perspective.

And the giant squid isn't a real live (or even real dead) giant squid, it's an art piece that I mentioned earlier. Now the installation is complete, and one of the artists has posted some pictures! And if you live near Grand Rapids (anyone?) please go check it out for me. If you like it, you can vote for it in the competition.
On Tuesday, BBC News' Day In Pictures included a photo of a northern bottlenose whale, washed up dead on a beach in Southern England. (The bottlenose whale is a member of the beaked whale family, Ziphidae, whereas the bottlenose dolphin belongs to the dolphin family, Delphinidae. (Now I am singing to myself: "Ziphidae-do-dah, Del-phi-ni-dae!" Try it, the meter is perfect! (Er, now stop singing to look at the sad picture.)))



Now that you are distracted from my atrocious use of nested parens, consider the picture's caption:
Not to beat a dead squid, but a reasonable question came up in a conversation with one of my labmates today: Who's to say that the Architeuthis collected in the Gulf of Mexico this summer was alive and kicking to begin with?
Scientists assume the rapid ascent through the changing depths caused the squid to die.
Yup, they found a giant squid. And this is exactly why I get snarlish about people referring to Humboldt squid as giant squid. If you cry "giant!" every time Humboldts appear, then when you get a real Architeuthis, people will think, "What's the big deal about finding one giant squid in the Gulf of Mexico? There are swarms of them off Washington!"
/rant
A Google Image search for "cute squid" returns, amidst the cartoons and handmade objects, numerous photographs of real animals:

- 1 baby octopus (cute, but not a squid)
- 1 dumbo octopus (cute, and it does have fins, which one usually associates with squid, but dumbos actually belong to a whole group of midwater octopuses that do have fins--so, still not a squid)