So what is calamari? and why do us Brits just take a European name and generally throw it around incorrectly. Well the majority will ask for calamari at their fishmongers and go home with squid. What is the difference? Well they are different species. The easiest way to distinguish is by looking at the side fins or wings. The calamari, most commonly see on the slabs in the Mediterranean, have wings that run the full length of the body opposed to the squid or ‘arrow squid’ that have wings about a third the length.
Biologically the calamari is an inshore species generally jig caught whereas the majority of squid species undertake lengthy migrations and are caught by trawl methods. The colours of the European species vary with the squid usually being very white in colour and the calamari sometimes very red. On a final note - when you hear the ‘know it all’ in front of you in the queue attempt to embarrass the trainee fishmonger by telling him ‘calamari is Italian for squid’ allow yourself a rye smile as you now know it is really a Greek word.