Samples of two loliginid squids Alloteuthis africana and A. subulata were collected from the continental shelf off the west Sahara in August-September 1987. Statoliths were taken from 124 specimens and processed using statolith ageing techniques. Statoliths of both species were very similar in shape. In the ground statolith, growth increments were examined and grouped into four growth zones distinguished mainly by the width of the increments. Age of adult mature males of both species did not exceed eight months, that of females six months. Alloteuthis africana grew faster than A. subulata in weight and, particularly, in length. At age 180 d the mantle of A. africana was twice as long and the body weight 1·2–1·5 times as large. Both species matured over a wide range of sizes and ages (from 120 to 180 d). The life span of A. africana and A. subulata hatching between January and May on the west Saharan shelf is about six months, much shorter than that of A. subulata in its northern temperate range.