Animal Species:Red Arrow Squid – Nototodarus gouldi (McCoy, 1888)
This squid forms the basis of major jig and trawl fisheries in Australia and New Zealand.
Standard Common Name
Red Arrow Squid
Gould’s Squid, Gould’s Flying Squid
Nototodarus gouldi can be identified by their maroon-red colouring, and the presence of a dark, narrow stripe along the midline of upper mantle. The mantle is torpedo shaped with diamond-shaped fins. The suckers on the tentacle clubs possess hard rings with large sharp teeth to help grip their prey.
Mantle up to 40cm.
Southern Australian waters; southern Queensland around to Ningaloo reef in Western Australia, and across the Tasman into coastal waters of northern New Zealand.
N. gouldi are found at many depths- the larvae and juveniles more often in shallow coastal waters, while the adults appear to spend much of their lives off the deeper continental slope and in oceanic waters.
Other behaviours and adaptations
N. gouldi tend to live in large schools and are voracious predators. They feed predominantly on other ommastrephid squids, with a high rate of cannibalism. It is in turn preyed upon by tunas and other large carnivores.
Individuals in all maturity stages are encountered throughout the year, but there is at least one spawning season from February to March when large aggregations are formed. Interestingly its abundance in the surface waters of the open ocean is thought to correlate with the lunar cycle, in full moon nights the squid tend to remain in deeper waters.
Unlike most squids, whose hatchlings look like miniature adults, squid in the family Ommastrephidae have a distinct larval stage, known as ‘rhynchoteuthion’ meaning ‘nose squid’. This name comes from the fact that in the early life stages the two feeding tentacles are fused into one long feeding tube with small suckers around the opening.
Norman, M & A. Reid., (2000) A Guide to Squid, Cuttlefish and Octopuses of Australasia, CSIRO Publishing, Victoria (Collingwood)
Roper, C.F.E., M.J. Sweeney & C.E. Nauen, (1984) FAO species catalogue. Vol. 3. Cephalopods of the World: An annotated and illustrated catalogue of species of interest to fisheries, FAO Fish Synopsis, 125(3): 1-277.