Summary: Students will dissect a squid, learn about squid anatomy and adaptations, and then compare their dissected specimen to an octopus. Students relate the phenotypic traits they observe to the process of biological evolution.
Concepts to teach: Squid anatomy and adaptations, comparative anatomy, evolution, natural selection
Goals: Students will investigate and discuss internal and external squid anatomy. Some features of the squid will be compared to similar features on an octopus.
- Observe the external and internal anatomy of a cephalopod
- Identify adaptations that allow this organisms to survive in a marine ecosystem
- Identify organs and structures associated with major body systems
Activity Links and Resources:
- Squid Dissection: From Pen to Ink COSEE adaptation from the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County
- Summary of Squid Dissection from Liz LaRosa
- Squid background material from Hatfield Marine Science Center
- Don’t want to lead a squid dissection in your own classroom? Oregon Sea Grant offers a 1-hour Squid Dissection Lab class at Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport.
- Background information on the Humboldt Squid from the Gilly Lab at Standford University
- Information about Giant Squid from the Smithsonian’s Ocean Portal website
- NOAA news article from 2009: NOAA Scientists Catch Rare Giant Squid
- Student worksheets included the COSEE and LaRosa guides.
- Students research a particular squid characteristic (for example, large eye size) and prepare a referenced report that uses scientific evidence to describe how this trait may have evolved.