Humboldt jumbo squid (Disodicus gigas) rise from the depths under the cover of nightfall to pursue their prey. The two longer arms can swiftly stretch out to seize a small fish. Once the fish is captured, the two arms retract, and the squid further grasps its prey with the eight other shorter arms.
This squid is one of countless thousands that washed ashore in the San Diego area during several nights in July 2002. Over 12 tons of dead and dying squid were removed from the beach at La Jolla Cove in a single day. It may have been the largest mass stranding of this squid species in the area in nearly a century. Unusually warm water temperatures associated with an El Niño year could have contributed to a migration of these large squid into the area from more southerly waters. One scientist suggested that the squid may have met their end as they chased schools of grunion. Once the squid came too close to the shore, they were helpless in the rolling surf.
“Ika” is the Japanese word for squid. Gyotaku literally means “fish impression”, so the inked impression of this squid would more correctly be called ”ikataku.” This ikataku was made using silver and white ink on black unryu paper. Two additional impressions of the squid were made with golden ink on black and purple unryu papers.
Size: 30 x 20 inches (2002)
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