Loligo opalescens

Habitat: Market squid typically are found in the open ocean.

Average adult size: Adults can grow to be 11 inches long.

Natural history: Market squid, like the cuttlefish, are cephalopods. By now, we know cephalopods are masters of camouflage, have well-developed eyes, jet-propulsion, smoke-screens of ink, and are smart and active predators. What makes the market squid even more amazing is that, in January, millions of squid swim up from the deep, open ocean to mate, lay eggs and die. In the shallow sand, the males swarm the females in hopes of reproducing before it is too late. A female produces a capsule, almost as long as her own body. It contains 200 to 300 eggs that hatch in three to five weeks. The hitch is that all the adults die after mating, leaving the bottom covered in a thick, white blanket of eggs. Squid are unmatched in their maneuverability. Swinging their siphon 360 degrees, they can dart in any direction. They also can travel slowly, using muscular fins on each side of their body. So they can operate forward or backward, in low or high gear. Adults feed on mysid shrimps and small fishes.

Range: From Southern Alaska south to Bahia Asuncion, Baja, California.

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