Is Calamari Squid or Octopus?

Calamari is one of those wonderfully unique dishes that is adored throughout the world, regardless of where it is cooked and eaten. While it’s originally a Mediterranean dish, the food itself has spread throughout the world and bamboozled a number of people who thought they may have been getting onion rings.

There are a number of differences and similarities between squid and octopus and, naturally, calamari fits into that strangely-shaped venn diagram just as well as a number of other sea creatures. With that in mind, we’re going to run through a few facts about squid, octopus, and calamari. We’ll talk about those terms, those creatures, and how they relate to one another.

What is the main difference between an octopus and a calamari squid?

To clear something up straight away – the word calamari is actually the Italian word for squid. This means that, when speaking about calamari, we’re speaking exclusively about squid.

Both calamari squid and octopus live in warmer water, like the tropics and temperate zones of the ocean. They also live in seawater, as opposed to the freshwater of lakes and rivers. Both squid and octopus are cephalopods, meaning that their arms are directly attached to their head, with the rest of their body being based around that arrangement of things.

In terms of the animal differences between octopus and calamari squid, the main differences are related to bones. Calamari contains a small backbone called a pen, while an octopus has no backbone or external skeleton.

The two creates are similar in that they both swim away from predators fast, making use of their rapidity, while also camouflaging themselves in their environment. They also fire ink at their predators when frightened.

In terms of the meat differences between the two, octopus typically has a mild, chicken-like flavor. On the other hand, calamari has a vary simple flavor that is commonly altered with sauces and spices.

Octopus is quite a thick, tough textured protein since an octopus tends to use every muscle in its body in the process of swimming through the ocean. Calamari squid, though, is a lot smoother and softer when cooked well. It can be cooked in a number of ways, though low and slow or hot and fast are ideal – those extremes allow for the ideal texture, while a middling process can result in a chewy texture.

Are calamari squid and octopus related?

Well, yes and no. They’re related in the same way that a wolf and a chihuahua are related. They share features and have a common ancestor, but are functionally different species. The difference, there, is that squid and octopus cannot breed, while a wolf and a chihuahua could.

Squids tend to have a range of fins on their body, typically four, as well as being generally larger, too. They will also have a longer lifespan than octopuses. The more time they have to grow, the larger they, and their fins will be.

The simplest way to tell the difference between calamari squid and octopus is to look at the heads of the creatures. Octopuses have a spherical, bulbous head. Squid, however, has a more pointed, triangular head.

Realistically, squid and octopus are not related. The reason for this is that they’re two completely different species that have evolved alongside one another in the ocean.

However, both squid and octopus are cephalopods, meaning that they technically have no feet, walking on the base of their head, with the use of arms to maneuver them. Both creatures are also mollusks, despite the fact that they don’t have a shell between them – this is the case for a majority of mollusks.

Therefore, while calamari squid and octopus are similar, they aren’t related. Scientifically, they’re considered to be part of the same genetic group, but they’re not evolutionarily related.

Do we eat octopus or squid?

Well, we actually eat both octopus and squid. Squid, when prepared in a certain way, is calamari, though there are a number of cultures that eat a large volume of octopus.

Squid flesh is considered to be quite difficult to prepare. They can be eaten raw when harvested young, but adult squids must be properly cooked before eating. When cooked, it can be tender or chewy, depending upon the nature of how the food was cooked. The flavor is considered to be decadent and luxurious, while not at all fishy – it’s a simple, smooth flavor and texture that’s quite lovely.

Octopus flesh is very chewy indeed since every muscle of the octopus is used a lot during the process of swimming and hunting. It doesn’t have a fishy flavor, but it is considered to be very tasty – something like chicken or pork.

The complex flavor is commonly used as a foil for a number of other flavors, including a range of herbs and spices in stews and soups, as well as more unusual offerings, such as takoyaki – battered, fried octopus.

Both squid and octopus are cooked in largely the same way – either fast and hot, or slow and low. This is because the meat of either animal can be a little complex, but it’s still a tasty treat for a number of people!

Who is smarter: calamari squid, or octopus?

Octopi are known to be very clever indeed, with there being stories of captive octopi squirting water across rooms in order to achieve a certain goal. They’re also known to be able to problem-solve very well, completing mazes and similar things very well.

Squid have less of a single-minded intelligence, since they travel in packs, rather than on their own, as octopi do. Therefore, their overall intelligence is generally connected more to their social standing, with them possessing a wealth of social intelligence and communication skills.

This does result, in some squids, in a very intense sense of anger and aggression, rather than more friendly social activity. For that reason, it can be tricky to spend a little time with a squid, whether in the wild or in captivity.

So, to sum things up – calamari is squid, while octopus is entirely different meat. While the animals are related, and share an exceptionally distant evolutionary ancestor, they’re quite different, both as animals and as food.

Kunal Sharma
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