Common squid

Scientific name: Loligo vulgaris
The common squid is a weird and wonderful predator found all around our coasts.

Species information

Statistics

Length: 15-40cm

Conservation status

Common

When to see

January to December

About

The common squid, or European squid, is found all around our coasts down to around 500m deep. They have a long slender body, with 2 fins at the opposite end to the head and arms. They are pale white in colour with reddish-brown mottling on their back. Common squid have 2 long tentacles which are used to catch their prey: small fish, crabs and shrimp. Males have an adapted arm called a hectocotylus which he used to pass spermatophores (a sperm capsule) to the female. She then lays up to 20,000 eggs in gelatinous white tubes (each containing many tens of eggs), attaching them to solid objects beneath the sea.

How to identify

A medium sized squid with a long, cylindrical body covered with reddish-brown markings. They have 8 arms on the head as well as 2 long tentacles used for catching prey.

Distribution

Found around all UK coasts.

Did you know?

Squid eggs often wash up on shore after spring storms - look out for a mass of long white gelatinous eggs on the beach.

How people can help

The Wildlife Trusts are working with fishermen, researchers, politicians and local people towards a vision of 'Living Seas', where marine wildlife thrives. Do your bit for our Living Seas by supporting your local Wildlife Trust or take a look at our Action pages.