Dip your toe in the harbor and you'll know why such an abundance of squid have come calling on the North Shore.
Warmer water has made them ubiquitous in places including Marblehead, Salem, Beverly and Gloucester, said Mike Armstrong, assistant director for the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries.
The bonanza of squid — which has brought out lots of anglers — has lead to authorities in Marblehead shutting down the town's piers for fishing.
They were once only common on the south side of Cape Cod but the past two years their numbers have surged tremendously in the Gulf of Maine.
"People are having a ball catching them." said Armstrong, who fishes for squid, typically using them for bait to catch striped bass.
Armstrong and others would not be surprised if people find other unusual species arriving in Marblehead Harbor, coming to feed on slippery squid, members of the Loliginidae family.
Before we get into what some of those species are, let's return to the little squid for a minute.
They live about a year and if you see one 18 inches, from the tail to the end of their tentacles, you have seen a whopper, Armstrong said.
The females swim into estuaries and lay a mop of eggs — the cluster resembles a tiny mop.
Squid are voracious and aggressive, feeding on little fish such as silversides, herring and even little menhaden, Armstrong said.
They grow fast. People who fish for them need only sport a jig, and the aggressive squid will strike the shiny object.
When startled they spurt dark ink to distract a predator long enough to make a getaway.
A great list of predators seek them as dinner guests.
Whales, shark, bluefish, tuna, striped bass, dolphin, sea birds are just a few on the squids' trail.
Tony Lacasse of the New England Aquarium says squid are the univeral food in the ocean.
"They are very important, right after herring in terms of the foundation of the food chain food for predators ...," he said.
Harbor seals like squid, but not all harbor seals — sort of like people when it comes to calamari. Either you love it or you hate it.
On special occasions — a seal's birthday — aquarium tenders may treat seal to squid, he said.
Some love the treat. "Others are like, 'Thank you, but no thank you,'" he said.
Tony Lacasse will not be surprised to hear of unusual species arriving to Marblehead Harbor.
Mike Armstrong said last year the warmer water brought fish not typically seen here to the northern waters, fish including bonito, northern trigger fish, fluke, scup, black sea bass and northern king fish.
Some real exotics, too, such as the spotfin butterflyfish have been on occasion spotted, he said.
Spotfin are colorful and typically swim in the Caribbean or Gulf of Mexico, or in saltwater aquariums with their disk-like shape and pointy mouth on display.
Squid have color, too. They flush to an orange-reddish color below those big googly eyes.
Color or not, they are here in big numbers.
Sea Notes is a Marblehead Patch column that focuses on marine life and history.