Mystery: Hundreds of Giant Red Squid Wash Up on Santa Cruz Beaches

Humboldt squid — carnivorous and between 2 and 4 feet long — were rare here until El Nino in 1997, but since then are now residents of the Monterey Bay.

Hundreds of dead Humboldt squid mysteriously washed up on beaches along Rio del Mar in Santa Cruz on Sunday.

They have been rarely sighted onshore along Monterey Bay, but the normally southern dwelling invertebrates, which move in shoals of 1,200, have moved northward since 1997.

Here's a National Geographic story about a similar occurrence in San Diego in 2009.

Scientist William Gilly told the Santa Cruz Sentinel that such beachings are a natural occurence when young species migrate. Before 1997 the carnivorous squid, nicknamed "red devil" squid, were mostly found south of the Equater.

Have you seen any "red devil" squid on Half Moon Bay or Pacifica beaches? Tell us in the comments.

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