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Monday, March 31, 2008

Science: Cephalopodophilia

Image courtesy of NOAA/MBARI 2006

Brian won't admit to his secret passionate love for squid of every variety, especially Humboldt squid (Dosidicus gigas). La Casa de Los Gatos wants the world to know we love squid, having been raised on Pon Pon, aka "The Chewing Gum of the Orient" &mdash squid marinated in sugar, salt, and chilli and pounded well before drying, which gives it a rubbery, chewy texture. A single pack of Pon Pon affords hours of stinky chewing fun.

Today, Brian sent us a link to a squid story over on Science Daily, featuring Humboldt squid. The story cites UC Santa Barbara researchers on an interdisciplinary study of squid beakage. It includes quotable gems such as these:
Humboldt squids, or Dosidicus gigas, are about three feet wide and can injure a fish with one swift motion. According to the article, ... "a squid beak can sever the nerve cord to paralyze prey for later leisurely dining."

"Squids can be aggressive, whimsical, suddenly mean, and they are always hungry," said Herb Waite, co-author and professor of biology at UC Santa Barbara. "You wouldn't want to be diving next to one. A dozen of them could eat you, or really hurt you a lot." The creatures are very fast and swim by jet propulsion.


Waite noted that squid muscle is available in locally made sandwiches, often called "calamari steak sandwiches."

The article itself is fascinating, if cephalopods happen to be your thing. As a cephalopodophile, however, I have to take exception to the last sentence in this quotable snippet:
According to Waite, the researchers were helped by the fact that squid seem to be moving north from areas where they have been traditionally concentrated, for example deep waters off the coast of Acapulco, Mexico. Recently however Humboldt squid have been found in numbers in Southern California waters. Dozens of dead squid have recently washed up on campus beaches, providing the researchers with more beaks to study.
On behalf of Humboldt squid (future calamari steak sandwiches or Pon Pon) everywhere, we would like to point out to UC SB's eminent researchers that Humboldt squid are not mere providers of beaks.

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At 5:07 AM, Blogger The Barefoot Bum said...

You are, I hope, a devotee of Pharyngula?

At 9:19 AM, Blogger ThePoliticalCat said...

Oh, heavens, yes. And Mark over at BiomesBlog, too. I just don't comment there much, being outclassed by all the heavyweight scientists, and all.

At 7:13 PM, Blogger Henry said...

Mmmm. Calamari Steak Fancy Feast. There might be some interest in that around here.

At 9:05 AM, Blogger ThePoliticalCat said...

No Pon-Pon for you, eh Henry? It's pretty tasty despite being stinky in a dried-prawn sort of way. I guess you don't do chilli. Gustav The Psycho Japanese Bobtail likes it. Not that that means anything to you. Not being Japanese and all.


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