European Squid

  • Scientific name: Loligo vulgaris
  • Size: Mantle length of up to 50cm
  • Distribution: Found throughout European waters with its range extending to the northern coasts of Africa.

The European squid is a widespread species, found (as the name implies) throughout Europe, mostly the North Sea and the Mediterranean, with its range also extending to the north coast of Africa. It is much larger than the common squid, with its mantle (body) reaching almost half a metre in length, although 20 – 30cm is a more common size for this species. It has a wider body and is squatter in appearance than the slender common squid, and also has eight arms surrounding the beak and two longer prey-catching tentacles with suckers on the end. The colour is usually white with red/pink speckles and spots.

The European squid is generally found in water anywhere between the surface and a few hundred metres deep during the summer months, although they seek out deeper water in winter where there is less variation in temperatures. During these colder months, the European squid will generally be found in depths between 500 to 1000 metres. Spawning takes place in the summer. The European squid is a predator which will hunt small fishes and also other squids. They will also take small crustaceans and any other marine creatures which they find on the seabed. There is also the long-finned squid (Loligo forbesi), also known as the veined squid, found in British waters. This is the largest species of squid found around the UK, growing up to one metre in length. Both of these species are commercially valuable. The European squid is listed as Data Deficient by the IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature) meaning they do not have enough information to make an assessment on numbers of this species.