Our busy Spring diving season is in full swing right now, with travelers coming from all over the United States, plus Spain, Singapore, and Panama to experience diving in the Pacific Northwest. On a recent dive we came across a Stubby squid, one of the more interesting and unusual invertebrates we see on our Guided Dive Tours as they look similar to Cuttlefish and exhibit Bioluminescence. As we’ve mentioned before, Puget Sound itself has beautiful Bioluminescence in the water during the fall season.
Stubby squid, also called a Bobtail squid, are closely related to the Cuttlefish and are a member of the cephalopods order in the family Sepiolidae, with the scientific name Sepiola atlantica. They have eight arms and two tentacles, and are roughly golfball sized. With the help of Bioluminescent bacteria in it’s skin, Stubby squid can change colors and patterns to match the environment or confuse predators. They can be found at all the most popular dive sites in Puget Sound, plus the Pacific Ocean, the Indian Ocean, and the Cape Peninsula of South Africa. We typically see them on night dives or during times of lower visibility, and in shallow water near eel grass beds.
With a 1-2 year life cycle, Stubby squid will mate and then die shortly afterward, leaving their egg clutches buried in the sand to hatch by themselves. Baby Stubby squid hatch as tiny versions of their parents, able to forage and hunt immediately. Adults and juveniles eat shrimp that they catch with their tentacles and eat with a horny beak inside their mouths.
Stubby squid are not considered threatened, and do well in urban waterways such as Puget Sound. Ready to see s Stubby squid? Now is a good time to book your dive tour and see these amazing creatures in their Pacific Northwest habitat.