They're Coming….

Some of us know the squid as Calamari

Squids are fascinating creatures that reside in the ocean, and almost everyone can recognize a squid when they see one. One of the most interesting facts is that there are about 300 different species of squid that are known to human beings, but it is widely assumed that there are many more species out there that are still unknown to us.

The reason for such a large number of squid species is their versatility and adaptability. Squids can be found in saltwater as well as freshwater bodies, and they can survive and sustain themselves at a wide range of temperature levels. These creatures are carnivorous mollusks, and they resemble an octopus in appearance.

Facts About the Physical Features of Squids:
A squid has an extremely soft body, and a very large head and large brain to go with that. All squids are either cigar shaped or spherical, and they also possess two lateral fins on their sides. The size of a squid can vary from area to area. Some squids are just about 24 inches long, while some can grow up to 40 feet in length. In 2007 a giant squid was found near New Zealand, and this one weighed an unbelievable 1000 pounds.

There are 8 sucker bearing arms around the mouth of a squid, and these are complemented by 2 contractile tentacles with spatulate tips. This appearance of a squid gives it a very scary look, especially for its prey. The prey is caught by the 2 contractile tentacles, which are longer than the other arms, and then passed to the other arms to hold the prey while the strong jaw tear them apart. Facts and information about giant squids, also tell us that the jaw of all squids resembles the beak of a parrot.

Squids are extremely fast swimmers, (faster than any other invertebrate), and they achieve this by expelling water rapidly from their mantle cavity. This water passes through what is known as a funnel, and it is due to this movement that the squid moves with a tail-first action. Squids are bioluminescent, and one of the interesting facts for kids is that they release a cloud of dark ink when they are pursued by someone.

Other Interesting Facts:
Squids eat a variety of things in the ocean, and this depends entirely on their size. Bigger squids will certainly be more aggressive than smaller ones, and they will actively pursue much bigger prey as well. The giant squid is known to grow up to about 60 feet long, and there are not many creatures in the ocean that will not qualify as prey for the giant squid.

It is widely believed that squids are the invertebrates with the most amount of intelligence, and they also have the ability to adapt to any kind of environmental conditions around them. Squids are extremely active in nature, and are always on the move and heading somewhere. Squid habitats are most commonly found in the 'epipelagic' and the 'mesopelagic' zones of an ocean, or the deepest zones of the oceans.

Squids generally grow very fast, and their life expectancy is quite short as well, as it does not exceed 3 years in most cases. There are a number of legends and stories that do the rounds about giant squids in particular, and most of these portray squids in a negative manner. The reason for this can be attributed to their strange appearance and their large sizes, which surely must have scared human beings before they could properly study them.

Facts gathered over the centuries by famous marine biologists have shown us that squids are essential to the ecosystem that exists in the ocean, and they have a specific role to play. They are an essential part of this system, and like all other creatures, they are simply trying their best to survive.

By Rahul Thadani
Published: 5/8/2010
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