European Squid - Loligo Vulgaris


Latin: Loligo Vulgaris

English: European Squid

German: Der Gemeine Kalmar

French: Le Calmar Commun

Italian: Il Calamaro Europeo

Spanish: El Calamar Europeo

Croatian: Lignja, Uligna, Kalamar

About:The European Squid is a large squid belonging to the family Loliginidae. Although this species is extensively exploited by commercial fisheries, it is also commonly targeted by recreational fishermen, often with great success.

Squids come in large number of species, so don't confuse them. Similar species or species with similar name are (just to name few of them):

- European common squid (Alloteuthis Subulata)

- Cape Hope squid (Loligo Reynaudii) - for some time, this species was even considered to be a subspecies of European Squid

- African Squid (Alloteuthis Africanus)

- Veined Squid (Long-Finned Squid - Loligo Forbesii), etc.

The European squid has a long, slender and cylindrical body with rhomboid fins that comprise two-thirds of the mantle length - fins length and shape is one of the most common methods in determining the squid (cephalophod) species. Anyway, it has very hydrodynamic body and can moves around effortlessly and with great speed - especially when running away using (literally) jet propulsion :) Compared with the body, the head is relatively small.

Loligo Vulgaris has large eyes and like almost all squids, it has ten limbs surrounding the mouth and beak. Eight limbs are relatively short arms and two, which form the tentacles, are long - they are used to catch prey (small and sometimes not so small fish). When in danger, it spreads ink and then hide itself in the cloud or use it for fast retreat.

The color of the European Squids varies - they can be greyish-transparent or reddish, depending on the expansion of chromatophores in the skin.

Maximum mantle length is around 40cm with total length of up to a meter. Maximum weight is around 3kg, although on average, it is much smaller - around 0.25kg.

It spawns in spring, mostly. In some areas, it can form large schools.

Habitat: It can be found throughout the Mediterranean and in the eastern Atlantic Ocean in waters extending from the low tide mark to the depths extending to about 500 meters - it is most common between 20 and 80 meters (deeper during winter).

Loligo Vulgaris can be found above various seabeds - sand, mud, rocks etc - anywhere where it can find it's prey (small fish). It is demersal species (often found near bottom), but horizontal and vertical migrations are common.

Fishing period: It can be caught all year long - during winter from boats, during warmer months from boats or from shores.

squid-jigsFishing rigs and tackle: For squids and cephalopods in general, special lures are used: they have form of fish with numerous needles bent upwards. Squids catch lures with tentacles and short arms and then get stuck on needles - since needles have no barbs, constant pulling is required in order not to lose the squid. On the other hand, if one pulls (reels in) the line too fast, it can lose the squid and catch only the tentacles :o)

Squid jigs come in various sizes, shapes and weights - European Squids can be very picky even when hungry. That is why it is recommended to have jigs/lures of various sizes, shapes, colors, sinking speed, with or without small UV reflective plates, glow in the dark lures etc. When one finds one that does 'work', fishing can be great - remember, there is a great chance that under your boat is school of squids, not just few individuals.

'Old school' fishermen, instead of modern squid lures, still use small metal stick with numerous needles (in one or more rows) with various fish attached to it - sardines are common squid bait.

This form of fishing can be even more successful, but modern lures are simply much more convenient.


European Squids on fish market.
Photo by N.M.

Cuisine: In many areas, European Squids are highly esteemed - they can be made in many ways, especially barbequed, grilled, stuffed with rice and herbs and then baked, as part of risotto, pan fried and so on.

Meat has very specific aroma and taste - just as with any other marine species - feel free to use some olive oil, lemon, garlic, parsley ...