Two of the most
important species of squid are the longfin inshore squid and the veined
squid. They are used as
fish bait and are eaten by people around the world.
Squids are a
marine animal that have eight to ten limbs coming out of their mouth!
Squids have suckers attached to their arms and tentacles. They do not
have backbones which means they are invertebrates. Squids can
be found in oceans all around the globe.
researchers believe that squid change colors as a form of
communication. Scientists who have studied squids' color change noticed that it is very
purposeful and not only camouflage as some believe. Squids have been found to be color blind,
so it is believed that the contrast of the pattern, more than the color, is
used to communicate between squid. Squids sometimes change
color and wave their arms to attract females and to scare off
One type of
squid, the Humboldt, have been seen flashing like strobe lights
at each other usually when they are hunting or feeding. This has appeared to be how they communicate with each other.
When squids have
been observed in groups, it appears they have cooperative
hunting behaviors which shows that they are very smart animals. They have such a large brain that they are believed to be one
of the smartest animals in the world.
One type of squid, the Carribean
reef squid, lives in a group of 20 or more inside
reefs. Carribean reef squid have been
seen communicating to each other by changing their skin patterns and
colors. Squid are able to change colors, because they have
skin cells that contain a colored pigment. The squid will also vary their postures, and turn on and off
their skin patterns and colors as a form of
to the scientific class Cephalopoda. They are shaped like torpedoes,
have a distinct head, a mantle (body), eight tentacles with
suckers, and two paired tentacles used for capturing and eating
prey. The suckers on their arms are 2-5
centimeters wide and have a double ring
of sharp teeth. Squid also have two fins
that are used to steer them through the water. A squid's mouth looks like a parrot's beak.
Squids range in
length from 3/4 of an inch to over 70 feet. Since a squid has no bones, it has a pen "reduced
shell" inside it's body. They have two gills
called ctenidia and two gill hearts.
There are many
different kinds of squid. A loligo squid can change its color from red to green to semi-transparent.
A vampire squid has its own light to help its large red eyes to
see. The vampire squid is
only 11 inches long. There is webbed skin between the vampire squids
arms. The vampire squid is deep purple or black.
An adult giant
squid is usually 60 feet long (18 meters) and can weigh up to 1000
Another very large squid is the humboldt squid which can be up to
10 feet long.
reef squid, as well as all other squid, have a brain controlled chromatophore
system. This system allows them to change color and position within 30
milliseconds. Squid also have iridophores
and leucophores, which are used in addition to the chromatophores.
The iridophores and leucophres reflect
Squids come in
many sizes and shapes. On a
lolling squid, there are eight 6 inch long arms with
two rows of suckers and hooks located below its eyes. In
addition to the 8 short arms, the lolling squid has two one foot long
arms that help it catch its prey. The
entire length of the loligo squid is only 1 1/2 to 2 feet long. A more common breed of squid, the Carribean
squid, is only about 1 foot long.
The long arm squid has ten long arms that bend.
It can be up to 10-20 feet in length. This squid has two huge fins that flap when it swims.
The firefly squid is 2
inches long as compared to the pygmy squid which is about as long as a honey bee.
Squids are found
in all the seas and at many different depths. The loligo squid lives
on the western coast of North America. It's basic habitat is either near the surface or at great
Vampire squids live is the Pacific and
Atlantic Oceans. They swim up to 15,840 feet below the surface of the ocean.
The giant squid lives
from 1000-3000 feet below sea level. The giant squid eats its prey by enveloping its prey in a
ball of tentacles. The
giant squid must be in constant motion to maintain its buoyancy, or it
would sink to the bottom of the ocean. The Carribean reef squid lives in the
reefs of the Carribean sea.
The longfin inshore squid lives in the Atlantic Ocean from Newfoundland to Venezuela.
The veined squid lives
in the Eastern Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea.
The Humboldt squid
lives in huge numbers along the west coast of North American including
the Gulf of Mexico and Monterrey Bay. One time 1500 Humboldt squid
washed up on Newport Beach.
like to eat squid. In
a good year, a Mexican fisherman could catch up to 100,000 tons of Humboldt
Squids are carnivores, or meat
eaters, feeding on fish and other invertebrates. Squid have been known to eat small mammals, like
within its reach. They have also been know to eat humans. The
bite of the squid is poisonous. A vampire squid only
eats plankton. |
Giant squid eat fish, octopuses and other squid. The Carribean
reef squid eats crustaceans and small fish.
When a male squid has a mate
he guards her to keep other male squid away. When two males are competing for the affections of a female
they will "duel" using rapid color change. The female then chooses the
male she favors by changing the
pattern of her skin to communicate her choice.
When a squid
mates, it gathers in shoals (schools). A loligo squid mates by the male squid transferring a special sac
called a spermataphore to the females mantle cavity using a special arm
called a hectocotylus. The
female then lays 20 sacs of 200 - 300 eggs. 20% of the
eggs die before hatching and 50% of the newborn squid are devoured by
predators during the first week of their lives. The female squid does not care for her eggs after they are
laid. The female loses
strength and dies after she deposits her eggs.
Other Interesting Facts |
A squid has
Squids have blue blood.
Once a diver was
snorkeling and a squid came up to him and tapped on his hand with its tentacle. The diver thought
he was going to be lunch, but the squid was just saying "hi.
At one time, squid
were not believed to be real but rather the subject of sailors' tall
A giant squid
can weigh over 100 pounds!
A pygmy squid is only as long as a honeybee.
live a few months to a few years.
been very few squid attacks on people.
are very smart with large brains and this helps them have very
interesting behaviors. Squid are prey to
many animals including the toothed whales, sharks, seals, and bony
fishes. To escape predators, a squid may squirt ink from its ink
sac or rapidly change colors.
Did you know divers wear
protective gear and armored breathing gear to protect themselves
from squids? When diving with squid, a diver usually never
same behavior twice. Researchers
believe that its impossible to predict the behavior of a squid in any
squid have been seen going wild in the water when there is blood,
especially blood from another squid.
Hunters and researchers actually hang dead squid over the
sides of their boats to attract squid to study them.
Friends of the
squid include the gulper eel, the tripod fish, the snipe eel, and
the abyssal anenome. They
live at similar depths in the ocean.
mollusk with tentacles and a hard beak such as octupus, squid and
cuttlefish) are the only mollusks that go through a period of sleep
similar to that of mammals.
U. Griebel, J.B. Wood and J.A. Mather.
Say it With Skin: A Graphic
Model for Skin Displays in Caribbean Reef Squid. (Sepioteuthis Sepioidea). In: Warnke, K.,
H. Keupp, Boletzky, S. v,.eds. Coleiod
Cephlapods Through Time. Berliner
Jacques-Yves and Philippe Diole. Octopus
and Squid the Soft Intelligence. Garden
City: Doubleday and
Company, Inc., 1973.
The Search for the Giant Squid.
New York: Lyons
Secrets of the Animal World:
Giant Squid Monsters of the Deep.
Stevens Publishing, 1997.
Amazing World of Octopus, Squid and their Relatives.
New York: Crown
Publishers Inc., 1993.
Rhodes, Mary JO
and David Hall. Octopuses
and Squids. New York:
Children's Press, 2005.
Squid." World Book
Online Reference Center. 3
January 2006 <http://www.worldbookonline.com/wb/Article?id=ar223540&st=Squid>.
Firefly Squid." Searchasaurus.
31 January 2006.
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3 January 2006.
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In Search of the Giant Squid.
4 January 2006. <http://www.salon.com/dec96/squid961202.html>.
"Holy Squid! Photos
Offer First Glimpse of Live Deep-sea Giant."
National Geographic News. 27 September 2005.
Monsters: The Vicious Giant
Dosidicus Gigas, The Humboldt Squid, Seems to be Finding a New Home
Right off Our Shores." Monterey
County Weekly. 10 March
World Book Online Reference Center.
3 January 2006. <http://www.worldbookonline.com/wb/Article?id+ar527540&st=Squid>
3 January 2006. <http://sasweb1epnet.com/citation.asp?tb=0&_ug=sid+8C040ECE%2D308E%2D44E5%2D...>. (Link no longer available)
images of red squid, squid diagram and squid picture from "Ocean Color Web"
Permission granted from Gene Carl Feldman <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Personal email April 6, 2006.
Photograph of packaged squid has been
released into the public domain from Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia.
Permission to use photograph of Carribean
reef squid is granted under the terms of the GNU
Free Documentation License from Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Page>.
Copyrighted image of squid on top from
"Microsoft Office Online" <http://office.microsoft.com/clipart/default.aspx?lc=en-us&cag=1>
February, 2006. Clip art available only to licensed users for