Ask Dr Dazza | Tiger Squid

Published 4:18pm 30 June 2021

Ask Dr Dazza | Tiger Squid
Words by Dr Dazza

Squid fishing has always been popular in Moreton Bay but during the past decade, in particular, interest among recreational anglers in catching them has increased. This is the first of two articles where I introduce you to the secret life of squid…

While there are many species of squid captured in Moreton Bay, the main two species are the tiger squid (Sepioteuthis lessoniana) and the pencil squid (Uroteuthis etheridgei).

The tiger squid is the most popular for recreational anglers because of its larger size although my personal preference, on the dinner plate, is the smaller pencil squid.

I grew up catching both species during winter nights on the Redcliffe Jetty and Shorncliffe Pier. The tiger squid is found along the entire length of the Queensland coast.

Squid in general have some amazing adaptations. They have eight arms and two longer tentacles. The long tentacles capture the prey while the arms manipulate the prey for consumption.

Everything squid do is done quickly. Squid have extremely high metabolisms and can extract oxygen from the water through their gills and through their skin.

They also have exceptionally fast growth rates but often significant variability in these growth rates between individuals of a species. Squid grow continuously during their lives and all food is converted directly to body growth with none stored as fat.

Tiger squid grow faster in warmer water than cooler water. In sub-tropical areas, tiger squid can reach over 400g and it only takes between 100 to 150 days to do so.

If you are a tiger squid, your life flashes by. Most tiger squid live for less than 200 days. The exceptionally fast growth rate of squid is fuelled by a voracious appetite and all species are carnivorous.

It only takes about 140 days for a male tiger squid to mature, but slightly longer for females. Can you tell a mature male from a mature female tiger squid just by looking at it?

The answer is yes. On one of their arms, males have a series of hooks rather than suckers and this structure is called a hectocotylus.

Tiger squid can be successfully hatched and raised in captivity in marine aquaculture ventures, but this has not been done at a commercial scale.

Hatchlings can be cannibals which is something that needs to be managed when trying to produce them.


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