Although recent years have seen an increase in genetic analyses that identify new species of cephalopods and phylogeographic patterns, the loliginid squid of South America remain one of the least studied groups. The suggestion that Doryteuthis plei may represent distinct lineages within its extensive distribution along the western Atlantic coasts from Cape Hatteras, USA (36°N) to northern Argentina (35°S) is consistent with significant variation in a number of environmental variables along this range including in both temperature and salinity. In the present study D. plei samples were obtained from a large number of localities along the western Atlantic coasts to investigate the distribution of these possible species in a phylogeographic context. Phylogeographic analyses were performed using the mitochondrial Cytochrome Oxidase I gene and nuclear Rhodopsin gene. Divergence times were estimated using Bayesian strict clock dating with calibrations based on fossil records for divergence from the lineage containing Vampyroteuthis infernalis (162 mya), the probable origins of the North American loliginids (45 mya), and the European loliginids (20 mya) and fossil statolith from Doryteuthis opalescens (3 mya). Our results suggest a deep genetic divergence within Doryteuthis plei. The currently described specie consists of two genetically distinct clades (pair-wise genetic divergence of between 7.7 and 9.1%). One clade composed of individuals collected in northwestern Atlantic and Central Caribbean Atlantic waters and the other from southwestern Atlantic waters. The divergence time and sampling locations suggest the speciation process at approximately 16 Mya, which is in full agreement with the middle Miocene orogeny of the Caribbean plate, ending up with the formation of the Lesser Antilles and the adjacent subduction zone, coinciding with a particularly low global sea level, resulting in the practical absence of continental shelves at the area, and therefore an effective geographic barrier for D. plei. Furthermore, this study also provides evidence of previously undocumented sub-population structuring in the Gulf of Mexico.