Mass squid mortality in Chile leaves lingering stench

Mystery mongering sites are saying that mass deaths of animals are a sign of the apocalypse. But animal mass deaths happen naturally (or sort of naturally, sometimes our carelessness helps it along). In this case, last week in Chile, there is a reasonable explanations, but end of the earth ISN’T it.

The beaching of the thousands of squid began almost a week ago in the South Island harbor, Santa Maria de Coronel. This link calls them ‘cuttlefish’ but they appear to be Humboldt squid. This species, Dosidicus gigas, or jumbo squid, has previously been identified in other mass die-offs related to toxic algae blooms.

Reuters reports that locals are concerned about possible health hazards as the animals decompose. Rodrigo Valencia of the National Fishing and Agriculture Service says it’s weather-related, caused by nutrient rich water rising to the surface and causing a drop in oxygen levels. An investigation will take place. While the phenomena is common here, this is more than the typical number of the mollusks that will beach at any time. Heavy equipment has been brought in to remove the remains.


squid carcasses chile

For those of us who think squid are pretty cool, this is a sad picture. For happy cuttlefish, follow @blackmudpuppy on Twitter.

Please note: Do not get your news from or, they are both ridiculous.

  6 comments for “Mass squid mortality in Chile leaves lingering stench

  1. Ronald H. Pine
    January 15, 2016 at 7:17 PM

    It’s my understanding that many kinds, at least, of squid have one reproductive season, which is quite synchronized, and then, not long after they reproduce, they all die. It seems to me that this event could occur some years and not be too noticeable because the nature of the waves that year might not bring many dead ones up onto the beaches and/or those years might have been low population years. So I’m wondering if a post-reproductive dieoff might have been responsible for what we see here, rather than some environmental conditions being reponsible.

  2. Duncan Disorderly
    January 16, 2016 at 2:00 PM

    It’s my understanding that Humbolt squid have a six month life cycle, during which they are extremely aggressive feeders and can pose a threat to fishermen and divers, though stories of these encounters may be somewhat exaggerated.

  3. Tony
    January 16, 2016 at 7:51 PM

    The real thing or pulpo fiction?

    I’ll see myself out…

  4. Hiram
    January 17, 2016 at 2:46 AM

    This is somewhat related. Recently in India there was a mass beaching of 81 short fin pilot whales, 45 of which are feared to have died. The rest have been dragged back into the ocean. Mass stranding of pilot whales of this sort is not a new phenomenon.
    Although this peculiar tendency of these animals to beach up is not well understood, marine biologists have said that this may be because of the fact that these whales, which are really larger members of the dolphin family, depend on echolocation for navigation, and are highly sensitive to sound waves underwater. They are hence prone to distraction and to being misdirected.

    “The increase in sound levels from ship traffic, sonic testing and oil drilling interferes with the navigation of the whales, which often results in the sort of mass stranding we are seeing in Tamil Nadu,” he (a marine conservationist with Sea Shepherd Global) told Quartz. “Whales are also very social and often entire pods will follow individual whales closer to shore, which can result in the entire pod stranding itself.”

    My point is that this mass die – out of Humboldt squid, if true, could probably be the unintended (or not) consequence of human activity in the region. It might mean that we have some cleaning up (pun intended) to do. I feel that we, collectively, are probably much less careful with regards to marine ecosystem protection than we are in relation to terrestrial life conservation. The investigation reports should tell us more. Please keep us updated.

  5. busterggi (Bob Jase)
    January 17, 2016 at 10:32 AM

    Oh the deep one-ity…

  6. Cinnie
    January 18, 2016 at 7:33 PM

    You’re right, many cephlapods only mate once and die, but there’s no reference to this form of reproduction in any of the academic literature for the species Dosidicus gigas

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