15 Humboldt Squid Facts You’ll Never Forget

Martha Martins
May 08, 2023 By Martha Martins
Originally Published on Aug 05, 2021
Edited by Monisha Kochhar
Fact-checked by Deeti Gupta
Humboldt squid facts about jumbo flying squid.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 7.1 Min

The Humboldt squid (Dosidicus gigas) was named after an explorer who visited the region in the 18th and 19th centuries. It is popularly known as the jumbo squid owing to its size.

Their population status has not been evaluated however they have been reported to be seen in Chile as well as Alaska. Earlier they were seen only in Peru and central Mexico.

They are an essential part of the ecosystem and are known to attack immediately if approached. They live in great depths and are seldom seen in shallow waters.

They often get confused when looking at scuba divers and attack divers aggressively. They are known to change color and when attacked they change into red color and are known as 'red devil' as well in various regions they are native to.

They are known to even sting to the point of death in some instances.

In turn, these squids form a specialty cuisine in various cultures however, it's essential to ensure that they are cooked well else they could be toxic. If you like this article then visit vampire squid and coconut octopus fact files too.

Humboldt Squid Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a Humboldt Squid?

The Humboldt squid (Dosidicus gigas) is a kind of squid animal that resides in deep levels of the water body.

What class of animal does a Humboldt Squid belong to?

The Humboldt squid is often categorized along with fishes however, they belong to the Cephalopoda class of species and the Ommastrephidae family.

How many Humboldt Squids are there in the world?

The Humboldt squid conservation status has not been evaluated however most reports suggest a steady increase. The exact distribution of Humboldt squid in the world is not known. There exist a total of 300 species of squids in the world.  

Where does a Humboldt Squid live?

These jumbo squids are known to inhabit deep waters of the Humboldt Current that flows northwest from Tierra del Fuego to the northern coast of Peru. The first sightings of this species took place in Monterey Bay.

The Humboldt squid is seen in a large range in the Gulf of California where they have developed as a sport fishery as well as in Chile and Alaska and the Pacific Ocean ecosystem.

What is a Humboldt Squid's habitat?

The Humboldt squid lives in the Pacific Ocean and other water bodies located around Peru, central Mexico as well as Chile, and Alaska. Their distribution is from tropical to subtropical latitudes. They live closer to the ocean floor and are seldom seen in upper levels of the water body.

Who do Humboldt Squids live with?

They are largely solitary beings. Jumbo squid is seldom seen traveling in a group. They however come together for mating purposes and coexist with other species of wildlife underwater.

How long does a Humboldt Squid live?

This jumbo squid is known to live for up to two years. The first photographs of a live giant squid were taken on 30 September 2004 by Tsunemi Kubodera and Kyoichi Mori.  

How do they reproduce?

Males and females reproduce sexually. The jumbo squid reproduces via internal fertilization and lays one million large eggs at one time. Throughout their lifetime they are known to lay about 20 million eggs. To support this high growth rate they feed extensively through this time.

Once the eggs hatch they from a millimeter to a meter in just one year. After males and females reproduce they usually die. Females die shortly after they lay their last brood.

What is their conservation status?

This jumbo squid is one such species whose status is not evaluated by the International Union For Conservation Of Nature (IUCN). Their life is majorly impacted by the lack of protection for oceans and sea life as well as releasing untreated waste into water bodies which pollutes water bodies indirectly affecting them.  

Humboldt Squid Fun Facts

What do Humboldt Squids look like?

The Humboldt squid description includes that they are 110 lb (50 kg) and 6 ft (2 m) in length. They are known as jumbo squid owing to their large size.

They are large squids with mantles/bodies, tentacles as well as a couple of feet. They are territorial as well as compete with other squid species.

They are known to change color patterns depending on which mood and place they are in. When they see a predator of humans they usually change color to red and go back to the same color once the predator has left. They have multiple hearts and brains in different parts of their body.

They are seldom seen on higher levels of the water body and are seen largely in the bottom levels. It is known as one of the deadliest squid species.

A Humboldt Squid on a sink.

How cute are they?

These large, as well as deadly beings, are not necessarily cute and are known to attack if approached or put in a position of threat.

How do they communicate?

These squids communicate with each other using changing patterns of light and dark pigment. Even during dark hours, they are capable of illuminating themselves to ensure that they communicate effectively. This behavior is used both to communicate with others and to display warning coloration.

How big is a Humboldt Squid?

The Humboldt squid is 6 ft (2 m) in length which is 20 times bigger than the smallest species of squid the Thai bobtail squid which is 0.02-0.03 ft(7-10 mm) in length.

How fast can Humboldt Squids move?

The Humboldt squid can swim at 15 mph that is (24 kmph). They have exceptionally good speeds both to catch prey as well as run away from it.

How much does a Humboldt Squid weigh?

The Humboldt squid weighs 110 lb (50 kg). The largest giant squid ever recorded by scientists was 43 ft (13 m) long and weighed one ton.

What are the male and female names of the species?

Male and female squids are not addressed differently. Mature females are usually bigger as compared to males and they also differ in reproductive functions. Males have mildly hectocotylized arms and females have a larger size.

What would you call a baby Humboldt Squid?

Baby squids are called paralarvae. Both octopus and squid babies are referred to by the same name until they reach maturity and become independent beings.

What do they eat?

Humboldt squids are predators to small fishes and crustaceans as well as other small creatures in the waterbody. They grab their prey by utilizing their tentacles and suckers. They have been known to attack humans and can cause injury or in some cases even death.

They are voracious feeders. At night they come up to surface waters to feed on and move back into the deep levels of the water body. Predators have been known to decimate populations of small fishes or smaller squids.

Are they dangerous?

Yes, Humboldt squids are one of the deadliest of their kind. It's best to keep a distance if you ever go for a diving experience and encounter one of these species.

They exist largely in deep levels of the water body and are seldom seen on the shore. Not just to humans, but they pose a threat to other wildlife underwater as well.

Would they make a good pet?

No, these are wild animals and best thrive in the ocean bodies. They are dangerous if not handled carefully.

They are consumed as prey species by people in certain cultures but only after cooking them well. If you encounter them while scuba diving be careful as they are known to attack individuals. They are also caught by fishermen along the fishing line and are important fishery species for small-scale fishers.

Did you know...

When killed the color of the squid changes to grayish-white this is because when a squid dies their skin which was previously controlled by the nerves to produce color is dead hence the color turns pale.

What is the survival mechanism of the Humboldt Squid?

The Humboldt squid bathes their young ones with oxygen to provide them with constant access to oxygen as well as protect them from possible predators by carrying them wherever they go to avoid any attack on them.

To protect themselves they release a black ink that darkens like a cloud in the water making it difficult for possible predators to see.

What is unique about the Humboldt Squid?

Humboldt squids are the most aggressive members of the squid family. Squids have often been grouped with octopus, shellfish, and other species of animals.

The Humboldt squid is also one of the largest squid species and attained its name as jumbo squid owing to its size. Only certain species of squids can change color and the Humboldt kind is one among them.

The Humboldt squid also has bilateral symmetry. If you wish to see these species, enroll yourself on a scuba diving trip in a region native to these species like Peru, Chile, Alaska, or even Mexico.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other cephalopods from our Blue-ringed Octopus facts, and colossal squid fun facts for Kids pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable humboldt squid coloring pages.

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Written by Martha Martins

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Linguistics

Martha Martins picture

Martha MartinsBachelor of Arts specializing in Linguistics

Martha is a full-time creative writer, content strategist, and aspiring screenwriter who communicates complex thoughts and ideas effectively. She has completed her Bachelor's in Linguistics from Nasarawa State University. As an enthusiast of public relations and communication, Martha is well-prepared to substantially impact your organization as your next content writer and strategist. Her dedication to her craft and commitment to delivering high-quality work enables her to create compelling content that resonates with audiences.

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Fact-checked by Deeti Gupta

Bachelor of Arts specializing in English Literature

Deeti Gupta picture

Deeti GuptaBachelor of Arts specializing in English Literature

A detail-oriented fact-checker with a research-oriented approach. Devika has a passion for creative writing, she has been published on multiple digital publishing platforms and editorials before joining the Kidadl team. Currently pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from St.Xavier's College, Deeti has won several accolades and writing competitions throughout her academic career.

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