Found throughout the Caribbean and off the coast of Florida, the reef squid is a relatively small squid with unique undulating fins that make up a large portion of its body. The reef squid can actually use its fins to propel itself out of the water and fly a short distance!
Scientific & Common Names
Kingdom - Animalia
Phylum - Chordata
Class - Chondrichthyes
Subclass - Elasmobranchii
Superorder - Selachimorpha
Order - Carcharhiniformes
Family - Sphyrnidae
Genus – Sepioteuthis
Species – S. sepioidea
Common Names – Reef Squid, Caribbean Reef Squid
The reef squid is aerodynamically designed to be able to speed through the water (and air!) effectively. It has large fins that cover nearly the entire length of its body. Like most squids, it can change its coloration very rapidly, and uses this as a communication tool.
Reef squids engage in elaborate coursthip rituals that can last over an hour and involve dancing and color changing. Once a reef squid mates, it dies shortly after.
These squids can change their shape, coloration, and texture and use this skill for many different purposes, including camouflaging themselves from predators, appearing larger and more intimidating to their enemies, and "talking" to other squids. They can rapidly change color and use this "flashing" in both communication and mating rituals. They can even send different messages using different sides of their body!
It wasn't until as recently as 2001 that it was discovered that this type of squid could launch itself out of the water and "fly". It can reach heights of up to six feet and travel distances of over 30 feet before splashing back into the sea. Since then, six other species of flying squid have been found.
Reef squid are not endangered, though they are caught unintentionally in nets meant for other types of sea animals, such as shrimp and fish. In some countries, reef squid are dried and eaten, but overall they are not of tremendous commercial value and their population is quite strong.