Masses of large ocean-going squid have inundated the shores of Southern Chile, alarming local fishermen who fear these carnivorous invaders could threaten fish stocks. Envisat has helped account for their otherwise mysterious arrival.
This beached jumbo flyung squid is a mysterious deep sea visitor to the Chilean coastline, one of hundreds making a surprise appearance during February 2004, alarming local fishermen. But Envisat AATSR data has shed light on the mystery.
Credits: Mariscope Chilena
These jumbo flying squid – Dosidicus gigas is their Latin name – are some of the largest known squids on the planet: the ones here measure between 70 to 150 centimetres in length, although specimens have been known to reach more than three metres. Making their home in the open ocean, they rise to the surface at night to aggressively feed on small fish using barbed suckers.
In the final days of February more than 200 of the squid were washed up on the beaches around Ancud, on the northern coast of the island of Chiloé in southern Chile. Further incursions have since taken place towards Calbuco, on the inner side of the Chacao channel and towards the southern part of the island along the coast, up to Castro in the middle of the big island of Los Lagos region of the country. Strandings have also been reported in more northerly areas such as Chiles VIII region.
Frédéric Le Gall | ESA
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