Endangered and threatened species

Steve O'Shea

TONMO Supporter
Staff member
Nov 19, 2002
Just FYI, in documents just released today by the New Zealand Department of Conservation (DoC) the following cephalopod species are formally recognised as being 'in serious trouble' in New Zealand waters (in a new 'Threat Classification System; the titles below, 'Nationally Critical, Nationally Endangered, and Serious Decline' are DoC threat categories).

I've just extracted them from the DoC report. The primary threat to each is deep-sea bottom-trawling fishing activity.

They are:
Nationally Critical (as in near extinct)
Opisthoteuthis mero O'Shea, 1999
Opisthoteuthis chathamensis O'Shea, 1999
Cirroctopus hochbergi O'Shea, 1999

Nationally Endangered (as in very serious trouble; locally extinct)
Mastigoteuthis (Idioteuthis) cordiformis Chun, 1908

Serious Decline (as in serious trouble)
Octopus kaharoa O'Shea, 1999

'Nationally Critical' is far worse than 'Serious Decline', so you can see that the two Opisthoteuthis species and Cirroctopus really are in trouble (locally extinct, and in the case of Cirroctopus, possibly gone).

I didn't get Architeuthis listed.....sorry.
Thanks for posting this.

Are either of the Opisthoteuthis species you mention the same as the one that is pictured in our photo gallery?


This is simply labeled as Opisthoteuthis, but I know nothing more about it -- I don't recall who ID'ed it. Is this one of the two you mention?

Actually, I suppose I remember it was from a film taken off the coast of Brazil (I believe)... was taken while a company was surveying the ocean floor for a cable-laying project. Anyway, being that it's from Brazil, it's probably not the same species... true?

Any chance the NZ fishery authorities (I assume there are some?) to enact restrictive guidelines to protect the species you mention?
That photo gallery image of Opisthoteuthis is of a very unusual species, in the sense it lacks areolar spots and is orange/brown pigmented (I've looked at that pic many times and wondered what species it was). Most species (apart from bizarre things like O.medusoides) are red-, maroon- to purple-coloured and have the distinctive rows of white blotches (areolar spots) running over the head and along the arms (you see them in the image of Opisthoteuthis in the 'Guide to character states etc.').[Steve did a sneaky link himself; wonder if Tony will figure out how? LOL. Check out Figure 1: see link here]

The objective certainly is to afford these animals some protection from deep-sea fishing activity. Whether or not this happens is anyones guess (as all black corals, Antipatharia, are CITES listed, yet deep-sea fishing activity rips them up daily ... at least 18 of the 42 known black coral species in New Zealand waters are known only from areas subject to intense fishing activity ... and nobody is really doing anything about it). I would like to use the admission of these octopuses to this list as leverage for DoC funding to to do some life-history work (although the reason for advocating their inclusion was never for funding).
Hi Steve,

Can I get the ref for that DoC report?? We get asked a lot about the status of cephs both in the public aquarium and during an educational program we run ( called "Suckers and Tentacles") and it would be nice to have some hard facts to talk about!


Hitchmough, R. (comp.) 2002: New Zealand Threat Classification System lists—2002. Department of Conservation: Threatened species occasional publication 23, 210 p.

Hey! I know that guy!

If anyone is having trouble seeing the video clip posted by Steve, it's probably because you don't have Real Audio running on your PC.

The product is called Real One and is free. The link to the download is in the lower left corner of the screen on the following page. It's the "basic" player. The other one will cost you.

RealPlayer for Windows and RealPlayer Mobile

Download and install, then come back to see/hear the doctor. :madsci:
It's taken from one of the doco's in the Blue Planet series titled 'Deep Trouble', though I don't think it has aired in the US of A. I'd prefer to be known for the work I've done on conservation than for the work I've done on squid ..... but it's not as big a headline grabber is it (even locally, as in New Zealand, people are largely oblivious to what's going on in their own back yard). Sad!

So now I've going to try and use the endangered squid and octopus as a hook to get people more involved in conservation ... at least this is what I intend to do in the new position (University) early next year.
Tally-ho, dude! :thumbsup:

This is certainly in line with the interests of this site, TONMO.com. The quality and health of our oceans is directly of interest to the cephalopods that occupy them! I'm happy to house any of your manuscripts, materials, education, etc. on these matters as I'm sure it will benefit our audience.

Isn't Richard Ellis working on a book regarding the depletion of our ocean's resources? That's what he told me back in February during my interview with him.
That clip is on the UK version, at least, of the Blue Planet DVD

sorry, gotta run..... going cattle trawling tonight..... :P
I hear 'neighbours wives' have also, recently been added to the endangered species lists :boohoo:
It's funny. I enjoy reading these articles, but sometimes I have a hard time understanding some of the scientific language that's used. I quess that's why I'm not a scientist but an avid fan of cephlapods! 8) Anyway, what caught my eye was " squid eyes as big as the human head"!!! Now that kind of puts it into a perspective that I can understand as to the size of these creatures! Simply amazing!

Cheers for the link

Good to see that theres an article out there I just hope it wasn't in some tiny corner of the newspaper where nobody would read it.

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