Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Squid fact sheet

Loligo forbesi | Veined squid (or long-finned squid) 

The veined squid, also known as long-finned squid is the most common squid species in the Azores. They can reach a length of 1 m and a weight of up to 8 kg in the Azores. They can be found in depths from 10 to 500 m and can live up to 3 years (breeding age 1 year old). Squids are marine molluscs that are bilaterlly symmertrical and have a distinct head. They have 2 long tentacles which are used in reproduction and 8 shorter arms which are used to capture food. Their salivary glands have developed into venom glands to assist them in capturing their prey. They feed on fish, polychaetes, crustaceans and other cephalopods including memebers of its own species. Squids travel by jet propulsion by pushing water through their mantle and using their mantle fins to steer. They reproduce by internal fertilisation (generally only once as they often die after mating) and a female can spawn up to 10,000 eggs. The ditribution of the veined squid ranges from the southwest coast of Norway down to the northeast coast of Africa, the Mediterranean and the Red Sea. At night they are found at the surface and during the day in depths of 80 to 500 m. This is the most captured squid species in Azores (by fishermen as well as dolphins such as Risso's dolphins) but the local population has not been evaluated. 

Architeuthis dux | Giant squid 

The giant squid is considered to be the second largest living invertebrate on Earth. The largest is the colossal squid, which is larger in body mass but smaller in length. The giant squid has black eye the size of apples, they live in deep water and can measure perhaps as much as 18 m in length (with a mantle length of 1 to 2 m) and weigh more than a ton (1000 kg). The fins are located on the back side of the mantle and are used for propulsion. Recently it has been discovered that there is only one species of giant squid and it has a worldwide distribution in deep waters, exept in the extreme polar and tropical zones. Not much is known about this species, in relation to its habitat, feeding (deep-sea fish and other squids) and breeding habits. They are thought to live up to 14 years and have a breeding age of about 3 years.  However, it is known that the meat is toxic, due to high levels of ammonium ions, making it unedible for humans. The sperm whale is known as the major predator of giant squid and colossal squid. 

In other languages (Veined squid | Giant squid):
Portuguese: Lula mansa | Lula gigante
Spanish: - | Calamares gigantes
French: - | Calmar géant
Italian: - |  Calamari giganti
German: - | Riesenkalmar
Dutch: Noordse pijlinktvis | Reuzeninktvis
Swedish: - | Jättebläckfisk
Norwegian: - | Kjempeblekkspruter
Danish: Tiarmede blæksprutter | Kæmpeblæksprutten
Finnish: - | Jättiläiskalmarit
Polish: - | Kałamarnica olbrzymi
Russian- | Гига́нтский кальма́р

Squid or octopus "left-overs" from a sperm whale

Sperm whale food: Large squid seen floating in the water around a group of sperm whales

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