Mantle short, wide spindle-like, rounded posteriorly, without tapering tail. Mantle length 2-3 times mantle width. Mid-dorsal mantle projection short, blunt. Fins egg-like in larvae, kidney-like in juveniles, oval in adults, length approximately half of ML, width 1.5 times length. Arm length in adults approx. half of ML. Arm suckers toothed only on distal half. Central club suckers noticeably larger than marginal ones. Buccal membrane with small suckers. Lateral sides of gladius bent arch-like. No photophore. Egg size approx. 2 mm. ML up to 10-12 cm.
Dwells on the inner shelf, shallow bays and estuaries; a very euryhaline and euryoxic species. Larvae distinguishable from those of Loligo (i.e. Loligo vulgaris) and related genera by pattern of red chromatophores on dorsal side (none at ML 2.0-2.5 mm, 6 on head and 4 on mantle at ML 3.5-5.5. mm, 9-15 at ML 6.5-7.5 mm), and by 3 dark chromatophores ventrally on head along sides of funnel.
Lolliguncula mercatoris Adam, 1941, included by some authors in a separate genus Afrololigo, is distributed in nearshore waters but not in bays and estuaries. It has been reported to have an unpaired rectal photophore in adult females only. The larvae are distinguished from those of Lolliguncula brevis only by the precocious development of dorsal mantle chromatophores (Vecchione, 1982; Vecchione and Lipinski, 1995).