- A smaller squid, they reach a total of one foot in length including their arms.
- Iridescent coloration of milky white and purple spots; can change color in response to their environment.
- Eight arms and two tentacles extending from the end of their bodies where their mouth is located.
- Can release ink to escape a predator.
- Juveniles: called paralarvae when they hatch; they resemble miniature adults.
- From southeastern Alaska to Baja California, Mexico.
- Most abundant from Monterey Bay, California to Punta Eugenia, Baja California, Mexico.
- Nearshore species.
- From ocean surface to 2600 feet deep. Spend days at depth and come to surface at night to feed.
- Adults come to sandy habitats to lay eggs.
- They reproduce right before they die, at about one year old.
- Spawning is year-round, with spawning April-October in Central California and October-May in Southern California.
- Spawning grounds are sandy habitats, where they gather in large schools.
- Males deposit spermatophores into females to fertilize eggs; eggs are deposited on sand in mounds of egg cases.
- Each female lays about 20 egg cases of 200 eggs each.
- Eggs take days to months to hatch, depending on water temperature.
- Feed on krill, small crustaceans, small fish, and other squid.
- Eaten by many fish, including salmon, lingcod, and rockfish.
- Eaten by seabirds and marine mammals.
- Market squid have a short life span, only 6-9 months, and the entire population replaces itself annually.
- They are heavily impacted by water temperature, with many less squid during El Niño events.
- The market squid fishery is one of the largest fisheries in the United States and the most financially valuable fishery in California.
Sources: NOAA Fisheries; fishchoice.com
Photo: David R Andrew