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2014 Assessment of the Squid Stock Complex in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands

March 05, 2014

Squids are marine molluscs in the class Cephalopoda (Group Decapodiformes). They are streamlined animals with ten appendages (2 tentacles, 8 arms) extending from the head, and lateral fins extending from the rear of the mantle. Squids are active predators which swim by jet propulsion, reaching
swimming speeds up to 40 km/hr, the fastest of any aquatic invertebrate. Squids also hold the record for largest size of any invertebrate (Barnes 1987).

In the Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands regions there are at least 15 species of squid (Table 1). The most abundant species is Berryteuthis magister (magistrate armhook squid). Members of these 15 species come from six families in two orders and can be found from 10 m to greater than 1500 m. All but one, Rossia pacifica (North Pacific bobtail squid), are pelagic but Berryteuthis magister and Gonatopsis borealis (boreopacific armhook squid) are often found in close proximity to the bottom. The vertical
distribution of these three species is the probable cause of their predominance in the BSAI bottom trawl surveys relative to other squid species, although no squid species appear to be well-sampled by BSAI surveys. Most species are associated with the slope and basin, with the highest species diversity along the slope region of the Bering Sea between 200 – 1500 m. Since most of the data come from groundfish survey bottom trawls, the information on abundance and distribution of those species associated with the
bottom is much more accurate than that of the pelagic species.

This family is represented by a single species, Chiroteuthis calyx. Chiroteuthis calyx is a pelagic, typically deep water squid that is known to mate in the Aleutian Islands region. Larvae are common off the west coast of the US.

There are two species of this family found in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands, Belonella borealis (formerly Taonius pavo) and Galiteuthis phyllura. Mated Galiteuthis phyllura have been observed along the Bering Sea slope region and their larvae are common in plankton samples. Mature adults and larvae of Belonella borealis have not been identified in the region.

Last updated by Alaska Fisheries Science Center on 11/02/2020

North Pacific Groundfish Stock Assessments Alaska Groundfish Research