a1 The Laboratory, Marine Biological Association, Citadel Hill, Plymouth
The distinguishing features of the common squid of British waters, Loligo forbesi, are summarized, and contrasted with those of L. vulgaris. The life-cycle and growth of L. forbesi are described, based on samples from trawl catches off Plymouth. This species seems to be an annual - young squid first appear in the trawl in late May, when their length is about 10 or 11 cm. Subsequent growth is rapid, and the males reach 30 cm and the females 25 cm by November. Spawning takes place mainly in December-January, but may continue into the spring. Neither sex survives beyond a single spawning season. Hatching of the spawn probably takes 30–40 days, and if the young squid taken in the trawl in late May hatched in the early part of the same year, a growth rate of about 25 mm/month would be required. Known growth rates for other species of Loligo are about 20 mm/month, so that indicated for L. forbesi does not seem to be impossibly high. The life-cycle is summarized in Fig. 8. There is also a summer spawning population, which grows to a rather smaller size at maturity, and which also seems to be annual.
During the summer L. forbesi ranges throughout the English Channel and southern North Sea, particularly in inshore areas. In October the squid migrate farther offshore and tend to occupy the western part of the Channel.
Values for total weight of squid/2 h trawl are given, on a monthly basis, for 1966–9. The largest quantities are usually taken in October and November, the highest single figure being 30.54 kg/2 h trawl, in November 1967.