Year after year the frequency of reports about the aggressive behavior of Humboldt Squid in Baja's Sea of Cortez gradually increased. While not previously known as an unusually mean animal, the increased frequency of aggressive behavior being reported caused folks to wonder if these usually passive cephalopods hold a darker side.

      Reports of squid attacking Mexican fishermen seemed to increase in proportion to the number of these streamlined animals that were getting killed. When it reached a point where 100 to 200 of these normally docile animals were being hauled up and slaughtered each night, the squid's behavior seemed to become increasingly fiesty.

      Not only were the squid getting aggressive with the fishermen that were catching them, but they seemed to be antagonized to the point where they were even becoming aggressive with their own kind. And there are isolated reports of squid giving the stink eye to Scuba divers as well. What could possibly be causing this nasty behavior?

      Recent studies by professional Scuba divers studying squid within 100 feet of the surface in the waters off of Santa Rosalia seem to indicate that the unfriendly behavior of the squid is a direct reflection of how many of them are being slaughtered by humans. All animals seem to reach a point where they become intolerant being killed in mass numbers, and it seems like the squid have finally reached that point.


      Another night, another squid, another peso.


      The Humboldt Squid has gone about their business of cruising the Sea of Cortez in search of krill for thousands, if not tens of thousands, of years without causing trouble to outsiders. But in the last few decades they have become a valuable commodity in Asian countries, and the increased bounty has caused more than one Mexican Pangero to switch from fishing for semi-valuable Yellowtail to fishing for very valuable squid.

      The more scientists study the squid the more it appears they are a very intelligent animal. They appear to roam the sea in schools, work together to contain food, and yep...they even get pissed off when they are killed in large numbers. That behavior does sound intelligent and not unlike most other animals (including humans) in the world.

      How do you tell when a squid may become agressive? This amazing animal has the unigue ability of being able to change colors very rapidly to display emotions or to communicate with other squid nearby. The normal 'flashing' of light blue, orange or grey is common for squid, but through studies it has been discovered that squids flash red and white when they are upset. While this does not happen very often, it serves as a good head's up for anyone who may be in the water with them.

      It is unlikely that the demand for squid will diminish any time soon. One small ray of hope is that the migration of squid does run in cycles, and there are times when they depart an area that they had been living in for years at a time. Let's hope these strange and wonderful creatures keep migrating to other areas before they become wiped out by over-fishing in Mexico's Sea of Cortez.




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