Todarodes sagittatus (N=1131) were opportunistically sampled from commercial and research trawling in Irish and Scottish waters between 1993 and 1998. The results suggest that the species is common in deep waters (>200 m) to the west of Ireland and Scotland, particularly in late summer and autumn. The size of squid caught was related to depth, with larger squid caught deeper, and is indicative of an ontogenetic, bathymetric migration. Females were more common (sex ratio 1·00:0·46), and attained a larger maximum size (520 mm mantle length (ML)) than males (426 mm ML). Mature females (360–520 mm ML) were caught in deep water (>500 m), between March and November, with a large catch of mature females taken off the west coast of Ireland in August 1996. Mature males (300–426 mm) were found from August to November. Potential fecundity was estimated to range from 205,000–523,500 eggs female−1. Putative daily increments in statoliths indicated a life cycle of slightly over a year, with rapid growth of approximately 1·8 mm d−1 during subadult and adult life. Fish were the most important prey of T. sagittatus and 17 fish prey taxa were identified, of which pelagic species were the most important.