Login or Register

800.334.5551 Live Chat (offline)

Squid Dissection

squid dissection header graphic

If you are looking for a specimen to ignite your students’ interest in invertebrate anatomy, look no further than the squid. These marine mollusks, belonging to the class Cephalopoda (meaning “head-foot”), are complex organisms that allow students to study the important link between structure and function. The structural and behavioral adaptations of these specimens along with students’ ability to compare them with higher and lower-level organisms makes preserved squid ideal invertebrate dissection specimens.

Squid dissection is an ideal activity for general life science classes in middle and high school, marine science classes, and comparative anatomy courses. The dissection requires only scissors and novice-level dissection techniques.

A brief guide to the internal and external anatomy of the squid is outlined below. For more detailed dissection instructions and information, check out our Carolina® Squid Dissection BioKits.

squid dissection header graphic

If you are looking for a specimen to ignite your students’ interest in invertebrate anatomy, look no further than the squid. These marine mollusks, belonging to the class Cephalopoda (meaning “head-foot”), are complex organisms that allow students to study the important link between structure and function. The structural and behavioral adaptations of these specimens along with students’ ability to compare them with higher and lower-level organisms makes preserved squid ideal invertebrate dissection specimens.

Squid dissection is an ideal activity for general life science classes in middle and high school, marine science classes, and comparative anatomy courses. The dissection requires only scissors and novice-level dissection techniques.

A brief guide to the internal and external anatomy of the squid is outlined below. For more detailed dissection instructions and information, check out our Carolina® Squid Dissection BioKits.

Videos

External Squid Anatomy

  1. Examine the exterior of the squid and note the 2 fins located at the dorsal end. These fins assist in locomotion and are used primarily to help the squid orient and steer itself through the water. In some squid, the fins also help to propel the animal. You may have to pull the fins away from the body to better observe them. Notice the thickness, texture, and size of the fins.
  2. Observe the tube-shaped, muscular, protective mantle of the squid. The mantle begins with the collar, just dorsal to the head, and extends all the way to the fins. Turn the squid so that its tentacles are facing you, and then look inside the mantle cavity.
  3. Look at the posterior side of the squid. Near the eyes, locate the siphon, which helps the squid move. The squid draws water into the mantle, the mantle contracts, and the water is forcefully expelled through the siphon. This method of water-jet propulsion moves the squid in the direction opposite the jet stream.
  4. Look at the head of the squid. Locate the eyes, which are similar in structure to human eyes. Ventral to the eye is the small aquiferous pore, which is thought to help equalize intraocular (internal eye) pressure. Apply slight pressure to the eyeball. Fluid should flow out through this pore.
  5. Observe the suction cups, or suckers, on the arms and tentacles. Notice how the suckers are positioned on the arms and tentacles. Use a magnifying lens to closely examine the suckers.
  6. Move the arms and tentacles aside and examine the mouth of the squid. Inside the mouth is a 2-part beak that is used to tear food. Open and close the beak and note how sharp it is.


  7. External anatomy of a squid

Internal Squid Anatomy

  1. Place the squid posterior side up on your dissecting tray. Using scissors, carefully cut through the mantle from the cavity opening at the collar down to the fins. Spread the mantle apart and secure the sides down onto the dissecting tray with dissecting pins.
  1. Observe the internal anatomy of the squid. Use the figures below to identify the following internal structures:
    1. Gills
    2. Branchial hearts
    3. Cecum
    4. Ink Sac
    5. Pen


squid dissection internal anatomy

squid dissection internal anatomy
  1. Follow all clean up and disposal instructions.

Carolina Kits | 3D - Explore Kit Solutions for 3-Dimensional Learning. - Explore

You May Also Like