Mysterious invasion

Published: Monday 28 February 2005

Is the ocean warning us? Some of California's most popular beaches were invaded by hundreds of dead giant squids on January 19-20, 2005. While squid sightings are not uncommon in these areas, such jumbo-sized animals (up to 1.8 metres long, weighing up to 7.7 kilogrammes) coming ashore in such large numbers is rare. "These things are invading, and we don't know what's going on," said an oceanography expert. A similar incident was reported near San Diego in 2002.

Many beaches in Orange County, including Newport and Laguna beaches, were strewn with 500-1,500 dead squids. The phenomenon could have been triggered by several factors, like heavy rains, many shoals of fish coming near the shore or strong tides. But, for now, oceanographers are clueless about the real cause. Some experts view the crisis as part of a series of cases of dead sea creatures washing up on Pacific beaches. Over 1,000 were found in Washington in October 2004.

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