Stubby Squid - Rossia pacifica

Stubby Squid


View all Stubby Squid Images in the Pacific Marine Index


The Stubby squid (Rossia pacifica) or bobtail squid is a member of the sepiolid family of cephalopods. Although sepiolids are commonly called squid, they are not true squids. They look like a combination between octopus and squid but are actually more closely related to cuttlefish. Like cuttlefish, they can bury themselves in the sand, and like octopuses, they mostly live on the bottom rather than swimming in the water column. They have eight suckered arms and two long tentacles like squid, but don't have a quill or cuttlebone for internal body support. They swim by using the fins on either side of their body, or use jet propulsion by taking water into their body cavity and squirting it out a funnel.


Stubby squid are a highly adaptive species.They have been found in some of the more polluted waterways around the Pacific Northwest, particularly in the inner harbours of Seattle and Tacoma Washington. There may be several reasons they can survive there: deposition from rivers may be capping polluted sediments, and also their short life spans (just two years from eggs) may not allow them to absorb a significant amount of pollutants from the sediments. Another survival factor may be the stubby squid's ability to produce copious quantities of mucus, which coat their bodies and protect them from the sediments.


Stubby squid live from the lower intertidal region down to 1000 ft. (300 m.) deep around the perimeter of the North Pacific, from Japan to Southern California. In the Pacific Northwest, divers can see stubby squids at night and in the winter. They are found on moderately sloping bottoms consisting of muddy sand in places protected from strong tidal currents. These places usually have access to deeper depths as the squids venture deeper in the summer.


Getting images for Stubby Squid is a challenging endeavor. Most of the squid are found buried in the soft sand and the only way to spot them is with a keen eye and a good light. Once you have discovered these little creatures the best images can be captured by getting them swimming. Once Stubby Squid are moving through the water column, use your spotting light or have your dive buddy shine their light on them. This will cause the squid to change colours and help create a striking image. These are small and delicate creatures be mind full of your interaction with them, if they ink or can no longer swim it time to move on and find something else to shoot.