The Caribbean Reef Squid

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by iimtaylor
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The Caribbean Reef Squid

The Yellowfin Grouper

Caribbean Reef Squid

The Cuttle Fish

Sepioteuthis sepiodea

ClassificationDomain: EukaryaEukarya is the largest of the three domains. It consists of organisms that have eukaryotic cells, which means they have a membrane bound nucleus with genetic material. This domain is split into four kingdoms; Protista, Fungi, Plantae, and Animalia.Kingdom: AnimaliaThis kingdom is characterized by organisms that are multicellular and have eukaryotic cells. Also they have some type of skeletal support, reproduce sexually, and their cells are programmed for carrying out certain functions.Phylum: MolluscaMollusca is one of the largest phylum in Animalia. Organisms in this phylum have a coelom. They have a soft body, and most have a hard shell, but not all. Also most of the organisms in this phylum have three main body ‘zones’; head-foot, visceral mass, and a mantle. Examples include slugs, octopuses, clams, and oysters.Class: CephalopodaMost organisms in this class are adapted for the swimming life, which means they do not have a “foot”. They are carnivorous, have a well developed nervous system and vision sense, and a radula. Examples of organisms in this class are cuttlefish, squid, octopuses, and the most common, the giant squid.Order: TeuthidaIn the order Teuthida, the organisms are mainly different species of squid. They use jet-propulsion to swim. There are over three-hundred species of squid.Family: LoliginidaeThis family is commonly known as “pencil squids”. These squids have a longer, conical body and partially retractable tentacles. Some examples include the European common squid and the Surinam squid.Genus: SepioteuthisAlso called “reef” or “oval” squids, these squids are recognizable by their large and rounded fins that take up most of their entire mantle. There are three species in this genus: the Southern reef squid, the Big fin reef squid, and the Caribbean reef squid.Species: sepiodea These squid go by the common name of the “Caribbean reef squid”. They can be a green or a brown on their upper side, and are light colored on their under side for camouflage from predators swimming above or below them.

HabitatCaribbean reef squids live in the Caribbean sea, the coast of Florida and Bermuda, the West Indian Islands, and have also been spotted from Cozumel to Venezuela. They tend to stay in small schools ranging from 4 to 30. It has been found that during the day, the squid stay closer to the shore and closer to the surface, and at night they swim off shore and deeper in the water. During their life, S. sepiodea live in different spots in the water, depending at which stage of their life they are in. Hatchlings stay close to the shore and normally are 0.2 to 1 meters below the surface. Adults venture out in open water and can swim as deep as 100 meters. When mating, these squid can be found around coral reefs in depths ranging from 1.5 meters to 8 meters.

Caribbean reef squids are usually very calm, they are even normally not afraid of divers. S. sepiodea moves by using jet-propulsion, like most squids in the order Teuthida. Before striking a prey, this squid will point its body vertically. During territorial fights or rough situations, it will curl upwards. Also, when it is approached by a predator in open water, the Caribbean reef squid will point its head downward. If it is threatened, the squid will hide itself and confuse its predator by ejecting a cloud of black ink. Its main predators include the Yellowfin Grouper as well as other large predatory fishes.

FoodSquids are voracious predators. They eat 30% to 60% of their body weight daily! They catch their prey by using the end of their two long tentacles. Like all squids, S. sepiodea has a strong beak to cut its prey into parts so the radula can process food easier. Caribbean reef squid eat small fish, other mollusks, and crustaceans.

When it is just hatched, the Caribbean reef squid’s mantle is 8 to 9 millimeters long. When they become adults, their mantle is 12 to 20 centimeters long. These squid are torpedo shaped, and the fins extend almost the entire length of the mantle. S. sepiodea has really big eyes. In fact, this specific species of squid has the largest eye – to – body ratio in the kingdom of Animalia! The Caribbean reef squid is cousins with the Cuttle fish, so the look very similar. They are often mistaken for one another.

Not eaten by people or fished.The Caribbean reef squid population estimates to tens of thousands of individuals.They communicate through a variety of difficult signals by controlling pigments in their skin.They are semelparous.The female dies right after laying the eggs.The male can mate with many females in a short period of time before they die.


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