European squid

Scientific name: Loligo vulgaris
English name: European squid
Italian name: Calamaro

The European squid is a cephalopod mollusc that lives in the coastal waters of the North and Mediterranean Seas between 20 and 500 m in depth. It can reach 30-40 cm in length in the Mediterranean but, more usually, specimens are 16-23 cm long. The body is fusiform (tapering at both ends) and elongated with side fins that reach the rear extremity of the sac; there is a horny shell inside the mantle. There are chromatophores, special cells that enable it to change colour rapidly, ranging from a transparent pinky colour to dark red veining, on the back of the mantle. The European squid has 10 tentacles, eight short ones and two longer retractable ones that it uses to grasp prey; these have four rows of suckers at the ends. It is a predator, feeding on fish, molluscs and crustaceans. It is a species much in demand in the market and is exploited by the fishing industry.