Humboldt Squid Invade La Jolla Shores


Pygmy Octopus
I'm a San Diego based diver and videographer, and was surprised last weekend when Humboldt Squid showed up at La Jolla shores, a commonly used surf and dive spot. I was able to take some video of them, there was no fishing activity going on, the area is a marine preserve actually. I have been actively diving over 30 years and have never seen Humboldt underwater. The few times I've heard of people diving with them, it was in a fishing situation where they use lights and chum the water to get them to come up.

Any ideas why there would be humboldt squid so near shore, in about 25-35' of water?

There was an earthquake offshore perhaps that drove them in? I noticed a lot of unusual invertebrates in the water column at the shores as well, krill and other creatures I don't normally see there. Anyways viz was terrible so the video isn't very good, but you can see it on youtube here -

Humboldt Squid Video on Youtube


I don't know if you're going to get a really good answer about why the Humboldts are in the shallows, only a lot of guesses. However, that being said, Humboldts in strange places has become the norm over the last decade. Just last week we had what appears to be a humboldt (though could have also been another large squid species native to this area) was ashore in Seattle and just last October had many was ashore on the Washington outer coast. My guess would be that the squid inshore have more to do with our current El Nino than the earthquake, but that is just an educated guess.

I have a couple question for you as a local in that area. Are there any reports of squid continuing washing up on shore in the area or being spotted by divers in the water? Do you have any idea of about how many washed ashore (a few or hundreds?) and I where (I have heard "La Jolla Shores beach", do you know of anything more specific)?
Thanks for any info you can provide.


Colossal Squid
Staff member
Very nice footage, and without chain-mail :wink: The skittish one was Octopus rubescens, right?


Pygmy Octopus
I don't know the octopus species, but we call them Red octopus locally, and they are the most common variety found in sandy areas. There is a different species that you find in rocky and kelpy areas, a larger heavier animal with blue spots it tends to flash when it gets excited. I would say dozens or maybe a hundred or so squid washed up over the past week at la jolla. Friday and saturday night there were a lot of them, and they came from all over to check out the video lights. Sunday night I dove and we saw just one, and ive only heard of sporadic sightings of ones or twos since saturday. I think the largest mass of them were at the canyon area near the shores, and the ones we saw were small groups or individuals who got lost chasing prey into shallower areas. theres a very deep canyon real close to the shallows there at la jolla.


Congratulations on getting your video on NBC, just watched it from L.A.

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