As with other squid,
this pelagic cephalopod has 8 arms plus two tentacles
(the arms taper to the end, while the tentacles
have a wider, flattened "club" region near the tip). The
are on pedicels (stalked) (photo),
suckers on the tentacles may contain hooks (photo).
The body is elongated and has fins. Has an internal, flexible
gladius ("pen"). As a member of Order Teuthoidea, they eye is
with a transparent membrane, the tentacle clubs (expanded ends of the
are narrow, and the tentacles do not retract into pockets.
are long and angular in cross section (photo);
the ventral pair of arms are longer and broader than the
The left ventral arm of the male is a hectocotyl.
(much longer than wide). This species is very large in size (mantle
length up to 150 cm), and the mantle
is smooth. The fins attached to the mantle
are triangular, less than half as long as the mantle,
and are attached along their full length. The tentacle
clubs have only suckers (no hooks) (photo).
The suckers are found on less than half the total length of the two
arms or the tentacles.
gigas (d'Orbigny, 1835)
Common name(s): Jumbo squid, Humboldt squid, Large squid
giganteus, Dosidicus eschrichti, Dosidicus steenstrupi, Sepia nigra,
by a fisherman off Westport, WA. Mantle length approximately
|(Photo by: Kirt
How to Distinguish from
The opalescent or common Pacific squid Doryteuthis
opalescens is more common in California shallow waters but
(mantle length to 19 cm). The North Pacific Giant
robusta also grows very large (up to 230 cm mantle
length) but the mantle
contains many fine longitudinal ridges and the fins are attached along
more than half the mantle
length. The tentacle
clubs have 15-18 pairs of hooks in two rows along with the
It is also oceanic but occasionally washes up on our shores.
only cephalopod this large commonly seen near Washington shores is the
Pacific Giant Octopus, Enteroctopus
dofleini, which has only 8 arms, does not have
spends much of its time benthically.
Range: This species
is common much farther south. Several times in the past
(e.g. 2004, 2008), large numbers of individuals have appeared off the
Coast and as far north as Kodiak, Alaska. Johnson and Snook
the range as Monterey, CA to San Diego.
This species is a diurnal vertical migrator from warm waters.
is only occasionally seen along our coast.
et al. (2010) examined the paralarvae of this species off the
coast of Baja California. The paralarvae are very similar in
to those of Sthenoteuthis
oualaniensis. However, Ramos-Castillejos et al.
size metrics in which the paralarvae differed. Paralarvae
gigas also had no intestinal photophores.
and Snook, 1955
Jorge, César A. Salinas-Zavala, Susana Camarillo-Coop, and Luis
M. Enríquez-Paredes, 2010. Paralarvae of the jumbo
gigas. Invertebrate Biology 129:2 pp.
General Notes and
abundances, unusual behaviors:
The photos below were taken by Kirt Onthank, of one of many squid which
were captured by fishermen at Ocean Shores, WA in 2008.
This view shows the 8 arms and 2 tentacles
characteristic of squids. Photo by Kirt Onthank
This view shows the attachment along the dorsal margin of the mantle.
Photo by Kirt Onthank, 2009
The ventral margin of the mantle
is not tightly attached to the body. Photo by Kirt Onthank,
When the mantle cavity is opened the two gills can be readily
In the photo above, the opening to the mantle cavity is to the
Water is sucked into the rear of the mantle cavity (to the right), then
blown back out across the featherlike gills which can be seen above and
below. The visceral mass is visible between the
individual washed up on a beach at Seaside, Oregon, so there is some
in the gills. Photo by Dave Cowles, July 2009
This closer view shows the esophagus extending to from the left to
the spiral cecum and stomach on the right. Photo by Dave
have suckers with no teeth. Notice the toothed ring from
(arm) sucker on the upper left. Also notice that the proximal
of the tentacle
the right) is not covered by suckers. Photo by Kirt Onthank,
The suckers are on pedicels (stalks). Photo by Kirt Onthank
Some of the suckers contain a ring of teeth. The scale in the
background is millimeters. Photo by Kirt Onthank, 2009
The arms are angular in cross section. Photo by Kirt Onthank,
The beak appears similar to a parrot's beak. The
roots of each
beak, however, extend well back into the buccal mass (the white mass of
muscle around the beaks here), becoming wider, softer, and thinner as
go. The smaller beak (on the right above) is
the beaks is the radula and the salivary papilla. The
back through the heavy, muscular buccal mass to the stomach.
by Dave Cowles, July 2009
Here is a view of the animal's otoliths. The scale
with centimeters numbered. Photo by Dave Cowles, July 2009
As with all squid, Dosidicus
gigas has an internal, flexible strengthening skeleton or
In this view the pen has been removed from the animal (anterior is to
right) and set on the side of the tank. The spoon-like
at the left fits within the posterior tip of the animal.
Dave Cowles, July 2009
Authors and Editors of Page:
Dave Cowles (2008): Created original page
CSS coding for page developed by Jonathan Cowles (2007)