El Diablo Rojo Returns

MAUI — They’re here. El Diablo Rojo, the “Red Devil” squid, which invaded the California coast last year from Mexico, ripping off divers’ masks and generally checking to see if they were edible, reached the western shores of Maui this week.

A skim boarder caught an 8- to 10- pound squid. He told reporters that he gave it to a fisherman to use as bait, otherwise he would have made “dinner for 10.”

This is one more indication that the red devil squid (also known as “Humboldt” squid, which doesn’t nearly have the same nifty ring to it as el diablo rojo)  is increasing its territory.


When we covered this story last year, we were told by Ronald O’Dor, senior scientist at the Census of Marine Life, that the proliferation of this large (but not “giant”) squid has been attributed to global warming and to over-fishing. Predators include large fish, like tuna, whose ranks are thinning severely.

The squid returned to California this week, many weighing in at 20-to 80 pounds. A reminder from O’Dor: if you see “squid steak” on your local menu, it’s Humboldt, and it’s extra tender.

- Michele Mitchell