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Marine Wildlife  Squid

Squid - Photo  Copyright 2006 Mark Henry
Photo: Mark Henry

UK Safari Tip:
Need help identifying marine creatures? Try this superbly illustrated fold out ID chart - click here

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Latin name: Loligo (Alloteuthis) subulata

Size: Up to 45cm (18"), although some species of squid can grow much larger.

Distribution: Found all round the coast of the UK, but more frequently found around the south coast.

Months seen: All year round.

Habitat: Sometimes seen stranded in rock pools, but more often found in deep water.

Food: Fish.

Special features: The body of the squid features eight short arms with suckers, used for gripping food. There are also two long tentacles which also have suckers and are club-shaped.

The squid moves through the water by jet propulsion. It draws sea water in through cavities in its body and then shoots it out through a funnel near its head.

Click for more infoSquid have the ability to change colour very rapidly. This is skillfully used to confuse prey and fool predators. It does this by moving special muscles next to pigmented skin cells. When the muscles are contracted the pigment drains away and the squid looks almost transparent.

Squid also use an inky smokescreen to evade predators. They eject the ink, turn transparent, and then dart away, leaving the predator staring at the ink cloud.

Click for a better viewThe picture on the left shows what appears to be a jellyfish or two, but these are clumps of squid eggs which sometimes wash up on beaches.

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UK Safari Marine Wildlife Section

  2008 G. Bradley. All Rights Reserved