European or Common Squid – Loligo vulgaris

The Common Squid, also known as European Squid or simply Squid, is a species in the class of the Cephalopods, and therefore belongs to the Phylum of the Mollusca. Some publications distinguish between the subspecies Loligo vulgaris vulgaris and Loligo vulgaris reynaudii. Meanwhile, Loligo reynaudii is a species of its own.


The body of the Common Squid resembles the form of an American football. The base colour is pale reddish to red.

At the head end are eight arms which are completely covered with suction cups. On each side of the mouth, which resembles the beak of a parrot, there is an elongated catch arm with only one suction cup at the end.

At the rear end of the body are two triangular side fins. These are white coloured with a yellowish edge.

Its big eyes are striking. With these it can see very well.

The body of Loligo vulgaris can be up to 40cm long and weigh 1.5kg. Males are usually slightly larger than females.

Habitat and Distribution

The Common Squid lives pelagic in the open water, both over sandy and over rocky ground, down to depths of 500m. The majority are found in depths down to 100m.

When diving in the Canaries you can observe it especially at night. Mostly I have been able to observe it from about July until spring time.

In addition, its distribution area extends from Sweden, via the British Isles, the North Sea and the Baltic Sea, the Mediterranean Sea to the Gulf of Guinea.

You can find a map of the distribution area here.


Loligo vulgaris lives solitaire or in large groups. Due its body shape, the Common Squid is perfectly adapted to the movement in the water.

The diet of the Common Squid consists of bony fish, crustaceans, cephalopods, Polychaete and Chaetognatha. Cannibalism also occurs. To catch its prey, it shoots forward its catching arms and then covers the prey with the remaining tentacles.

Common Squid European Loligo vulgaris cephalopoda species clutch eggs diving canary islands atlantic ocean
Eggs of the Common Squid hidden under a Rock.

While females reach a maximum age of 2 years, males reach an age of up to 3.5 years.

After reproduction the females lay their eggs in jelly-like white tubes. Therefore they usually come close to the coasts. The clutch is hidden in the best possible way. They are usually found in crevices, caves, tires and the like. A female sheds up to 20,000 eggs. Depending on the temperature, the larvae hatch after 25 (22 ° C) to 45 days (12 to 14 ° C). When hatching they have a size of about 1cm.