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Squid vs. Calamari: What's the Difference?

Edited by Harlon Moss || By Janet White || Updated on November 17, 2023
A Squid is a cephalopod mollusk with elongated body and tentacles, while Calamari is the culinary term for dishes prepared using Squid.

Key Differences

Squid is a marine creature known for its elongated body, distinct head, and tentacles. It belongs to the cephalopod family and is related to octopuses and cuttlefish. Calamari, on the other hand, primarily refers to the culinary dishes made using Squid as the primary ingredient.
In terms of physical features, a Squid has a soft body, a mantle, and a siphon for propulsion. It uses this siphon to expel water forcefully, allowing rapid movement. When people refer to Calamari in a culinary setting, they are talking about the prepared or cooked flesh of the Squid, often deep-fried or grilled.
Though the words Squid and Calamari are sometimes used interchangeably, especially in restaurant menus, there is a subtle distinction. While all Calamari is Squid, not all Squid is considered Calamari. Some Squid species, due to their texture or size, might not be ideal for the tender dishes typically associated with Calamari.
The global popularity of Squid as seafood is evident. They are caught in various oceans and play a significant role in many cuisines. Calamari dishes, recognized for their soft, slightly chewy texture, are especially popular in Mediterranean regions and are served in various forms, including rings or whole.
To sum it up, while Squid is the name of the marine creature, Calamari is a culinary term. Whether it's the natural wonder of the Squid in the ocean or the delightful taste of Calamari on a plate, both have a significant presence in our world.

Comparison Chart


Marine cephalopod mollusk.
Culinary dishes made from Squid.


General term for the creature.
Specific to cooking and cuisine.


Depends on species.
Typically tender when prepared.


Biological, marine life.
Culinary, restaurant menus.

Species Involvement

Refers to all species.
Specific species used for dishes.

Squid and Calamari Definitions


A marine cephalopod with tentacles and an elongated body.
The Squid inked as a defense mechanism against the predator.


The edible flesh of Squid, often served deep-fried.
The Calamari was tender and paired well with the garlic aioli.


An animal that can vary greatly in size, from small to giant.
The giant Squid is one of the ocean's most mysterious creatures.


A term commonly found on restaurant menus to describe Squid dishes.
We ordered the grilled Calamari with a lemon butter sauce.


A seafood popular in various cuisines.
Fresh Squid is available at the local fish market.


A delicacy especially popular in Mediterranean cuisine.
In Italy, Calamari is often cooked with fresh tomatoes and olives.


A creature with a unique jet propulsion system.
The Squid shot away quickly, using its siphon to propel itself.


A culinary dish prepared using Squid.
Fried Calamari rings are a popular appetizer.


An invertebrate known for its beak and ink sac.
The Squid uses its beak to capture and eat prey.


Squid that's prepared in a way to achieve a tender texture.
The secret to soft Calamari is not to overcook it.


A device that measures minute changes in magnetic flux by means of one or more Josephson junctions, often used to detect extremely small changes in magnetic fields, electric currents, and voltages.


Squid prepared as food.


Any of various marine cephalopod mollusks of several families of the superorder Decapodiformes (or Decabrachia), having a usually elongated body, eight arms and two tentacles, a reduced or absent internal shell, and a pair of fins.


Squid as food, especially cooked in the form of calamari rings


Any of several carnivorous marine cephalopod mollusks, of the order Teuthida, having a mantle, eight arms, and a pair of tentacles


Squid, the mollusk, in general


A fishhook with a piece of bright lead, bone, or other substance fastened on its shank to imitate a squid.


(Italian cuisine) squid prepared as food


A sailor in the Navy.


A quid; one pound sterling.
Can you lend me five squid? I feel like a bacon sarnie.


A motorcyclist, especially a sport biker, characterized by reckless riding and lack of protective gear.
"In my mind, a street squid is anyone who races on the street. Period."1
"squid: a cocky motorcyclist who darts very aggressively through traffic"2


(angling) To fish with the kind of hook called a squid.


(parachuting) To cause squidding an improper, partial, parachute inflation, that results in the sides of the parachute folding in on the center, and pulsating back and forth.


Any one of numerous species of ten-armed cephalopods having a long, tapered body, and a caudal fin on each side; especially, any species of Loligo, Ommastrephes, and related genera. See Calamary, Decacerata, Dibranchiata.


A fishhook with a piece of bright lead, bone, or other substance, fastened on its shank to imitate a squid.


(Italian cuisine) squid prepared as food


Widely distributed fast-moving ten-armed cephalopod mollusk having a long tapered body with triangular tail fins


What part of the Squid is usually eaten as Calamari?

Often the body/tube is sliced into rings, but tentacles can also be eaten.

Can all types of Squid be used to make Calamari?

Not all Squid species are ideal for the tender dishes typically labeled as Calamari.

Why is Squid sometimes called Calamari on menus?

"Calamari" sounds more appetizing and is the culinary term for Squid dishes.

How is Calamari typically prepared?

It's often deep-fried, grilled, or sautéed.

Is Squid ink safe to eat?

Yes, it's used in many dishes, like squid ink pasta.

Why is my Calamari chewy?

It's likely overcooked. Calamari needs quick cooking to remain tender.

Where are Squid found?

They inhabit various oceans worldwide.

What's the difference between Calamari rings and tentacles?

Rings come from the body, while tentacles are the longer appendages.

Are Squid and Calamari the same thing?

Squid is the creature; Calamari refers to the culinary dishes made from Squid.

Do Squid have bones?

No, they have a cartilage-like structure called a pen or gladius.

Is Calamari popular worldwide?

While it's especially popular in Mediterranean regions, it's enjoyed in many parts of the world.

Is Calamari high in cholesterol?

Calamari can be a source of cholesterol, so it's wise to consume in moderation.

Are Squid intelligent?

Yes, they're known for their problem-solving and learning abilities.

Can you eat the whole Squid?

Most parts are edible, but the pen and ink sac are usually removed.

Do Squid have a beak?

Yes, they use it to catch and eat their prey.

How many tentacles does a Squid have?

Squid have ten appendages: eight arms and two longer tentacles.

How can I make my Calamari tender?

Cook quickly at high heat or slow-cook to break down the muscle.

What do Squid eat?

They eat small fish, crustaceans, and even other cephalopods.

Is Calamari a good source of protein?

Yes, it's a lean source of protein.

What is the biggest species of Squid?

The giant Squid, which can grow over 40 feet long.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.

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