Steve O'Shea

TONMO Supporter
Staff member
Nov 19, 2002
What follows is a brief report on the squid collected in a recent research voyage between New Zealand and Australia. The collection of squid is sensational! It is something that I will be involved with (as far as identifying/documenting the fauna), but it is also something that would make for a superb Masters thesis for someone who does have some experience with cephalopod systematics (this is no 'beginners thesis' topic!).

2004 looks like it will be a rather busy year as far as research and students is concerned, and I will not be able to do everything that I would like to (had I a lesser workload), so I'm offering this as a fantastic Masters research opportunity to describe the fauna. It could well turn into a PhD IF and ONLY IF the candidate described additional material (non-NORFANZ collected) from rather significant collections of cephalopods located at the National Museum of New Zealand, and the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA).

My report went:
Mollusca (Cephalopoda)
The NORFANZ collection of squids is one of the most important scientific collections of cephalopods taken from the northern Tasman Sea in the past 50 years. In general, the external and anatomical condition of all specimens is excellent. Not only has the excellent condition of specimens in the collection resolved a number of systematics problems, it has also increased the recognised diversity of species from New Zealand waters to 94, and considerably increased the recognised bathymetric and geographic distribution of several taxa.

Preliminary work on these collections reveals them to comprise 16 families, 31 genera and 33 nominal species - a figure that will increase following more detailed study. New records for New Zealand waters, based on in situ-captured specimens (rather than beaks in stomach contents), are made for the family Sepiidae (genus Sepia), for the genus Grimalditeuthis and species G. cf. bondplani and Chiroteuthis cf. capensis (both Chiroteuthidae), 'Echinoteuthis' sp. (Mastigoteuthidae) and Octopoteuthis megaptera (Octopoteuthidae). Two immature specimens of a species either belonging to a genus new to science (Mastigoteuthidae) or the first known non-larval specimens of the enigmatic Magnapinna (Magnapinnidae) are also represented in these collections. The collections also include a number of presently unidentified cranchiid squid (Cranchiidae) apparently new to the New Zealand EEZ, and several fully mature and mated male and female Histioteuthis (Histioteuthidae) species, with bizarre sexually dimorphic characters being discerned for the first time.

If you are interested in undertaking this ambitious project as either a Masters or PhD course of study then please contact me directly at [email protected]

Unfortunately there is no scholarship or stipend associated with this research topic; you must be self funded.

Very cool Steve! I'll mention this in next week's Newsletter as well (missed this until now)...

Good luck --

Hi Steve,

Sounds very interesting. I wont mind doing another PhD, but I have no funding at the moment. But I cannot wait to see those specimens.
Good luck in searching candidates.
Happy new year, by the way
Hiya Steve,

Dunno how I missed this! Don't really want to tackle another PhD (don't have money anyway) but will be waiting with extreme impatience to see what turns up!

It would be so nice to hear from someone willing to tackle this project this or next year. I have to make a start on it in the immediate future (for publication), but identification of the animals is only half of the story.

There are vast collections of cephalopods from New Zealand waters. The scope for systematic study is endless.

Hi Steve,

I would love to start the project on such interesting and rare material. However, I am leaving for South Africa the 1st of November. Maybe next year.....................although funding will be quite difficult to get.

All the best

Henk-Jan Hoving
Hi Henk-Jan

The project will be there until someone grabs it; the funding issue is a long-standing one, and one for which I have no immediate solution.

Even if this one does go in the interim, there are plenty of alternatives.