Coastal Habitats & Species—Squid Dissection

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.


Specific Objectives:

  1. Observe the external and internal anatomy of a cephalopod
  2. Identify adaptations that allow this organisms to survive in a marine ecosystem
  3. Identify organs and structures associated with major body systems

Activity Links and Resources:


  • 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.