Atlantic Bobtail Squid

The Atlantic bobtail squid (Sepiola atlantica) is truly a hidden gem of the rocky shore. These camouflage wizards are so easy to overlook that they are usually only spotted when accidentally disturbed, spending much of their time buried in the sand with only their eyes peeking out.
bobtail squid illustration 2 Laura
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Despite their name, these charismatic critters are actually more closely related to cuttlefish than other squid. They have stocky, rounded bodies and grow to approximately 6cm. Bobtail squid have two tentacles and eight arms with tiny suckers that they use to manipulate their prey and to bury themselves. Their appearance varies greatly due to their ability to change colour, but they usually have light to dark brown patterning with an iridescent, metallic sheen.



Spotting bobtail squid is particularly tricky as they often bury themselves in sandy substrates to hide from predators. To increase your chances of finding one, keep an eye out in the warmer summer months following fair weather. Although they usually live in shallow seas, bobtail squid are thought to migrate inshore from July, whilst waters are warm. They do not often survive in extreme weather conditions and by October they move offshore again.


bob tailed squid art

Bobtail squid mainly feed on small crustaceans such as shrimp. It is thought that this might be what causes them to migrate to rocky shores throughout the summer months when conditions are good and abundance of rockpool shrimp is high. Bobtail squid are nocturnal hunters and bury themselves during the day.

The rock pool project:

So far, the Atlantic Bobtail Squid has only ever been recorded for the Rock Pool Project at Trefusis Point, Flushing and Castle Beach, Falmouth. Be sure to keep an eye out for this charming species during your next survey!

Table of Contents

Rock Pool Project discoveries for this species: