Home > Local Species > Longfin Squid
Cover Photo by Corey A. Leamy
Also known as Longfin Inshore Squid, Winter Squid, and Boston Squid
Longfin Squid have a long slender mantle that can grow up to 1.6 feet in length, but is typically less than 1 foot. Extending out from either side of the mantle are two long fins. The fins are at least half the length of the mantle and are rhomboid in shape. The head has two large eyes and a mouth with beak-like teeth. Extending out from the head are 8 arms that are shorter than the mantle and two long tentacles. Longfin Squid are translucent in color with many chromatophores, or pigment cells that can change color to help them escape predators or to attract a mate. Even though they can change color, Longfin Squid often exhibit a reddish hue.
Longfin inshore squid are found in the Western Atlantic Ocean and have a geographic range from Newfoundland to the Gulf of Venezuela. North of Cape Hatteras, NC, Longfin Squid have a northerly summer migration inshore to shallow coastal waters and the continental shelf. In the fall and winter, the squid retreat south and offshore to the continental slope where they can be found at depths between 28 to 366 meters. During the day, adults stay near a sandy or muddy bottom and migrate vertically towards the surface at night.
Expect to see Longfin Squid on your spring and summer night dives; they always put on an amazing show! As aggressive hunters often hunting in schools, adults are known to go after fish larger than themselves. Adults also consume crustaceans and other squid, while juveniles feed on plankton. Despite their good eyesight and ability to change color, they are thought to be colorblind. Longfin Squid have a short lifespan, typically less than 1 year; they die right after reproducing. Spawning occurs year-round with peaks during the summer and winter. Females lay egg capsules containing 150 to 200 eggs that she attaches to a solid substrate. Longfin Inshore Squid are commercially fished and are typically prepared in a calamari dish.