The SUN Newspaper, Bremerton, Washington
17 July 2002
Research is squid's life after death
By Lynette Meachum
The 7-1/2-foot cephalopod, found washed up on a Lofall beach, heads to the
When he saw the enormous squid, Richard Prine's first thought was that he
had enough crab bait for years.
"What it looked like was a pair of coveralls," Prine said. "It turned out to
be a 7-1/2-foot squid. I didn't know anything like that existed around
The 85-pound squid washed up on Prine's Lofall beach July 7. It was
apparently very recently deceased, since only its tentacles had been nibbled
at by other marine life.
Realizing that somebody would probably be interested in the find, Prine
called Suquamish Tribe fisheries biologist Paul Dorn. On his instruction,
Prine loaded the cephalopod into his minivan (where its ocean odor still
lingers), and he and Dorn packed it in formaldehyde in a 32-gallon bucket.
The squid now resides at the University of Washington School of Aquatics and
Fisheries Sciences, where collections manager Katherine Pearson said it
should be valuable for research.
Large squid come the school's way occasionally, but generally not in good
condition. The last squid the department acquired was scooped up by a
fishing boat in Alaska, and the fisherman had already gutted it, Pearson
"They don't very often make it to where a scientist can do something with
them," she said.
A wayward squid is uncommon in Puget Sound, but not entirely unexpected,
said Seattle Aquarium biologist Jeff Christiansen. The species, Moroteuthis
robusta, are certainly giant squid, but not THE giant squid of seafaring and
Moroteuthis robusta are common in deep water off the Pacific coast. When
they die, they rise to the surface and float into Puget Sound with the tide,
Since this time of year is the end of the squid's life cycle, the aquarium
generally gets calls once or twice a summer about an unexpected find.
"It's classic fish stuff," he said. "We love to hear about it."
A crew recently recovered another giant squid near Point No Point,
Christiansen said. At 5 to 6 feet long, it was smaller than the Lofall
squid, but such a good specimen that it will be preserved and displayed at
Published in The Sun: 07/17/2002