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Quick Facts

Genus: Teuthida, There are around 300 species of squid

Location: In almost all the oceans of the world

The Scoop

Fast and Intelligent

Squid are found in almost every ocean, but they generally prefer cooler and temperate waters. The world’s largest invertebrates — the giant squid and the colossal squid— live in Deep Ocean waters near Antarctica. Did you know that squid are one of the largest, fastest and most intelligent of all invertebrates? Their bodies are torpedo-shaped which helps propel them swiftly through the water. Squid swim by forcefully squeezing seawater out of their bodies in one direction. When being chased, many squid squirt a dark liquid to distract their attacker. Squid have a distinct head, a mantle, and arms. They lack an outer shell- instead they have an internal shell that supports the body and to which the muscles are attached. Squid have eight arms and two long, non-retractable tentacles that they use to catch prey.

Some squid are just a couple of inches long, but some giant squids are absolutely huge. Giant and colossal squid can weigh up to 1,000 pounds and can grow to be 35 to 60 feet long including their tentacles. This means they are longer than a school bus! The smallest squid reported was 0.7 of an inch and weighed 0.02 oz. Some squid species hunt in groups while others — especially those that live in the deep sea — hunt alone. Squid eat a varied diet depending on species. From the smallest to the largest, they eat mainly marine life. Squid have been known to eat other types of squid too. Deep sea fishes such as hokie are their favorite food. Squid will also eat shrimp- while some giant squid will even eat baby whales! The main threats to squid are pollution, humans, bigger fish and, in the case of the giant squid, the sperm whale.

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