Two species of Loligo are abundant in northern Gulf waters: the long-finned squid, Loligo pealei. and the arrow squid, Loligo plei. Variability within species and similarities between the species often hamper accurate identification. The two species more closely resemble each other in areas of sympatry. and there is overlap in almost all of the diagnostic characters. Small specimens of Loligo are not easily identified. and there are few studies detailing their morphometry. Because of the taxonomic uncertainties associated with the identification of juveniles and subadults of L. pealei and L. plei, the species were differentiated by isoelectric focusing. and morphometric characters and indices of potential use in species separation were evaluated. Emphasis was placed on those taxonomic characters suitable for use in the field. Best discrimination between the two species was achieved with combinations of measurements of characters and calculated indices associated with cartilaginous structures (funnel cartilage length, gladius width [GW1, nuchal cartilage length, and rachis width [RW]) and the shape of the gladius. An arbitrary cutoff in GWIRW ratio of 2.7 (ratio of the greatest width of the gladius to the width of the free rachis at the junction of the vane) correctly classified 100% of the L. plei and 91% of the L. pealei. The overall shape of the gladius (broader and more rounded in L. pealei), presence or absence of marginal ribs in the vane of the gladius, and the nature of the junction of the vane and free rachis (junction gradual and not distinct in L. peale;) were also useful in distinguishing the two species.
Perry, H. M.,
Trigg, C. B.,
Biesot, P. M.
(1996). Morphometry of Juvenile and Subadult Loligo pealei and L. plei from the Northern Gulf of Mexico. Fishery Bulletin, 94(3), 535-550.
Available at: https://aquila.usm.edu/fac_pubs/8726