Main Difference Between Squid and Octopus

If you were to ask someone what is the difference between squid and octopus, they probably won’t be able to give you an answer, or at least not with confidence. These two sea creatures sure seem to be very similar. They are both cephalopods. This type of marine life is known for their well-developed heads, prominent eyes, and tentacles.

That’s probably the reason these two seem to not be really different from each other. However, this is not true. There are some very important things that are different between octopuses and squids. Especially if you are an angler or if you are interested in trying to catch any of the two in your next fishing trip, then you should know all about it. So, let’s get into it!

Body differences

We will start off by the differences in their features, since the physical part is the one you could be able to recognize right away. Squids have longer bodies that are tubular, and they have eight arms and two specialized tentacles which are used to catch their prey. Their arms don’t have sucker rings, but their specialized tentacles, which are loner than their arms, do. They also have a sharp beak that is used to tear apart the fish they eat. Their heads are triangular, and they have two fins that run along the squid’s entire body. On the opposite, octopuses have shorter, compact bodies. They also have eight arms, but they don’t have any specialized tentacles.

However, they have sucker rings on all of their arms. They don’t have a skeleton, so they are very soft, flexible and can be squeezed through tiny spaces. Another interesting feature of octopuses, is that they have chromatophores in their skin. This allows them to change colors in order to camouflage. Lastly, their heads are round, and they don’t have fins.

Photo by John Cameron on Unsplash

Habitat – Difference Between Squid and Octopus

Also, there is a significant difference when it comes to their habitat. If you are looking for some squid, then you should be able to find them in their favorite place, aka the deeper parts of the ocean. They live in open water and quite deep in the ocean. They also like to travel in groups. Octopuses live on the ocean floor. They can be found under rocks, in crevices and under reefs especially coral reefs. They choose those places because they can hide there while being able to feed themselves.


The next type of difference between Squid and Octopus has to do with their diet. Squids are carnivorous and they are predators. That means they eat shrimp, small fish and even other smaller squids. The way they catch their prey is by using the sucker rings on their tentacles to make a catch and bring its food to its mouth. On the other hand, octopuses are also carnivorous, but they enjoy eating crustaceans like lobsters, crabs and other shellfish. In order to eat, they catch the prey and inject paralyzing venom inside it.


Moving on to their lifespan, difference between Squid and Octopus can be detected here too. In general, squids live longer than octopuses. Octopuses usually live up to 3 years, while squids’ average lifespan is up to 5 years. However, that is ultimately determined by the species of the squid or the octopus. For example, squids that live in the deep ocean can be alive for up to 15 years! Another lifespan fact is that males -both octopuses and squids – usually die not long after mating, while the females live in order to take care of their eggs.

Difference Between Squid and Octopus
Photo by Milada Vigerova on Unsplash


Another fun fact is that the way they sense thing is different too! Octopuses have bad eyesight. Therefore, they use their sense of touch in order to find food and mates. They also have a great sense of taste. On the other hand, squids have excellent eyesight. They can see even in deep dark water or in very bright light.


Last but not least, it’s helpful to know about the size difference between Squid and Octopus. When it comes to sizes, there is quite a big difference. Once again, the size ultimately depends on the species of each type. However, squids can be way bigger than octopuses. The largest octopus can reach up to 5 meters in length and the smallest is about 2.5cm long. The smallest squid can be around the same length, which is 2.5cm, but the biggest species can reach up to 20m long!

So, even though squids and octopuses seem to be very similar, they are definitely not! Which one is better? That is up to you and your personal preferences!

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