The Falkland Islands and South Atlantic
MARINE INVERTEBRATES- Cephalopods- Cuttlefish Squid, Octopus

MARINE INVERTEBRATES- Cephalopods- Cuttlefish Squid, Octopus

  • argentine-short-finned-squid

Argentine Shortfin Squid Illex argentinus

Local name: Calamar
These nektonic squid are found on the shelf, slope and open pelagic waters of the Southwest Atlantic, occurring to a depth of 800m. They spawn at the mouth of the River de la Plata through the austral summer December- March and migrate south along the Patagonia shelf as far as the FICZ, via a route that lies off the continental shelf, to feeding grounds, growing very quickly to an average of 40cm feeding on small juvenile hake, pelagic crab and shrimp. In turn they are preyed upon by large hake.  Mature Illex argentinus are around 24cm long. They have a 1 year life cycle, as with other cephalopods spawning once and dying soon afterwards. Some years as in 2007 they enter the FICZ and resulting in a good harvest but in others such as 2009 they did not migrate far enough south to reach the zone at all. This may be attributed to fluctuations in sea temperatures.
Illex argentinus is important for the Falklands fishing industry and also vital prey for albatross, penguins and fur seal.


  • patagonian-squid loligo gahi

Patagonian squid Loligo gahi

Local name: Calamar
Patagonian squid are found in the eastern Pacific Ocean to southern Chile and on the Patagonian shelf off Argentina on the Atlantic side, generally occurring only to a depth of 285m.
Loligo grow up to 28cm (mantle length), and are harvested at 10 to 16cm. Purplish brown in colour, they have long narrow tentacles with club ends.
Loligo gahi, smaller cousins of Illex argentinus are found and fished by trawling in Falklands waters off the East Falkland coast, particularly off Beuchene and are present  in Falkland Island waters all the year round, concentrated in the ‘Loligo Box’, an area within the Falklands Plateau to the east and south- east of of the islands.  Loligo are a vital food source for black-browed albatross, seals and Rockhopper penguins. Like other squid they are of great ecological importance, deep sea predators relying on them include finfish, whales and dolphins.
Falkland licenses are issued to trawl these squid during February- April (austral autumn) and July- September (austral spring).


Sources include: Falkland Islands State of the Environment Report 2008 Otley H, Munro G, Clausen A, Ingham B. A Field Guide to the Wildlife of The Falkland Islands and South Georgia - Ian J Strange.
Photographic credits: Robert Binetti/, Squid by Melok/
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