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European Squid: 15 Facts You Won't Believe!

Join us in reading some interesting European squids facts!

Living in the dark depths of the water is one of the most popular mollusks, Loligo vulgaris, also known as the European Squid. Sometimes called the Common Squid, this fish is a member of the Loliginidae family. The marine species has a wide distribution, extending all the way from the North Sea, till the far western coast of Africa. Their main range can be classified as the Mediterranean and Atlantic waters.

Loligo vulgaris is a widely exploited species when it comes to commercial fisheries. The most striking feature of this mollusk is its long mantle and multiple tentacles. It is known that spawning takes place during the hot summer days, and about 20,000 eggs are laid in each spawn!

For more relatable content, check out these giant clam facts and click beetle facts for kids.

European Squid Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a European squid?

The European squid (Loligo vulgaris) is a type of squid.

What class of animal does a European squid belong to?

The European common squid (Loligo vulgaris) comes under the cephalopods class.

How many European squids are there in the world?

The total population of this Loligo species is unknown.

Where does a European squid live?

You can spot the European squid (genus Loligo) throughout the Mediterranean, as well as the eastern Atlantic waters. Their range extends from the North Sea and the British Isles all the way to the Gulf of Guinea. Their British territories are around the Irish Sea, off northern Scotland, extending along the southern coast of England.

What is a European squid's habitat?

They can be found adapting to different substrates, be it a sandy environment or muddy bottoms. They live in the pelagic region of the water, surviving between the depths of 328-1640.4 ft (100-500 m).

Who do European squids live with?

The Loligo vulgaris is known to either live completely alone or in large groups.

How long does a European squid live?

The Loligo vulgaris has different average lifespans for both sexes. Females are said to have a life expectancy of up to two years, whereas about three years in males.

How do they reproduce?

Talking about the European squid reproduction, the spawning season is carried over for most of the parts of the year. The male would get hold of the female and insert his hectocotylus in her mantle cavity, where fertilization takes place. Females come a little closer to the coast and lays her eggs in white, jelly-like tubes, usually well hidden from the sight of other marine creatures. These eggs are laid in caves, crevices, or well-covered areas. At a time, the female lays about 20,000 eggs in batches of ten eggs each in gelatinous tubes. Depending on the water temperatures, the paralarvae take anywhere between 1-1.5 months. Usually, adult males and females die shortly after they spawn and brood.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of the European common squid is not known.

European Squid Fun Facts

What do European squids look like?

This squid has a cylindrical, long, moderately slender body. They have two long tentacles used in catching their prey, and eight other shorter arms around their beak. These shorter tentacles have multiple suckers embedded on their end, whereas the two longer tentacles have only one suction cup each. They have a pearly white body, with multiple red/pink spots on it. Towards the posterior side of the body are two side triangular fins, which are white in color and have a pale yellow edge. The posterior border of this species is slightly concave. It has really big eyes covered with a thin, transparent membrane. Males have considerably larger bodies than the females.

The mantle covers 2/3rd the body length of the Loligo  vulgaris.

How cute are they?

We do not find the Loligo vulgaris cute.

How do they communicate?

It is speculated that a large percentage of the squids’ communication, in general, is done visually. This is carried out by combining two different factors: the pigmentation of their bodies along with body luminescence. Such behaviors have been observed mainly while the squids are in social scenarios, or while hunting a good bite for themselves in the deeper water range. Though the exact mechanism is yet to be uncovered, it is said that this marine species have light-producing body organs which assist in creating a backlight, thus focusing on the changing pigmentation on their bodies. Apart from this, not much is known on the biology of these marine creatures.

How big is a European squid?

The mantle of the European common squid might sometimes go up to 20 in (50 m) long, however, the usual European Squid size varies between 7.87-15.7 in (20-40 cm).

About 3-5 congo tetras would be equal to the size of a European squid.

How fast can European squids move?

We are unaware of the exact speed this Mediterranean species can attain. Generally, squids are known to be really fast swimmers. Some squids are known to attain speeds up to 25 body lengths every second.

How much does a European squid weigh?

The European common squid weighs about 3.3 lb (1.5 kg)!

What are the male and female names of the species?

There are no separate names for males and females of this species.

What would you call a baby European squid?

Baby squids in general are called 'paralarvae'.

What do they eat?

The European squid uses its tentacles and suckers to grasp food for itself. These carnivores feed on crabs, shrimp, small fishes, and even other squids lurking in the deeper water range. This species is quite a stalker, quietly following behind its prey, and grabbing the food suddenly.

Are they dangerous?

We would not classify this Mediterranean species as a dangerous one!

Would they make a good pet?

We believe it would be better to leave them in their natural habitat, as they need large space to roam around, and confining in an aquarium might not be right for this species.

Kidadl Advisory: All pets should only be bought from a reputable source. It is recommended that as a potential pet owner you carry out your own research prior to deciding on your pet of choice. Being a pet owner is very rewarding but it also involves commitment, time and money. Ensure that your pet choice complies with the legislation in your state and/or country. You must never take animals from the wild or disturb their habitat. Please check that the pet you are considering buying is not an endangered species, or listed on the CITES list, and has not been taken from the wild for the pet trade.

Did you know...

The male Loligo vulgaris have smaller chromatophores on their mantles.

The release of Sepia is probably one of the most important European squid adaptations. These squids have the ability to shoot out ink, Sepia, from their bodies in situations of threat, which would momentrily cloud the water, and confuse the predators.

This species is a common sight in the fisheries.

Different types of squid

About 300 different species of squids have been discovered! Of all these mollusks, here are a few types of squids.

Mesonychoteuthis Hamiltoni (colossal squid): beware of them as they grow to about 38-46 ft (11.58-14.02 m)! This squid is the largest of all known invertebrates, possessing the largest eyes of all the species in the animal kingdom! Their distribution is between the waters of South America and Antarctica, and even to the south of New Zealand and South Africa.

Dosidicus Gigas (Humboldt squid): the average body length of this aggressive species is about 7-15 ft (2.13-4.57 m). They travel in large shoals, and are known to prey on sharks. Eastern Pacific Ocean is where their distribution is concentrated.

Vampyroteuthis Infernalis (Vampire Squid): bright blue/red eyes, webbed tentacles, dark skin, everything about them eerie. They can grow only to about 1 ft (0.3 m) body length. They lurk in the darkest depths of the waters.

Watasenia Scintillans (Firefly Squid): One of the tiniest squids, who is also known to glow in the dark, their body length is just about 0.25 ft (0.0762 m) and are found off the Japanese coast, in the Western Pacific waters.

How far can European squids swim?

Unfortunately, we are not aware of how far this species can swim.

For more relatable content, check out these coconut octopus facts and mimic octopus facts pages.

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

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