Sensational new cephalopods from New Zealand(NORFANZ cruise)

Steve O'Shea

TONMO Supporter
Staff member
Nov 19, 2002
Now this is rather sensational! It is a cranchiid squid (Family Cranchiidae), related to the colossal squid. The genus is most likely Taonius (these are all preliminary identifications, until we've had an opportunity to look at the animals in greater detail), but the species ...... ?
Note, the outer row of hooks on the tentacle club with a single cusp, but those of the inner row have two cusps (the resolution on the pic isn't that grand).

Taonius 3 is of spermatophores implanted into the mantle wall. This is probably what Mesonychoteuthis does also ... although we've not seen the mature Mrs colossal yet.



:band: Here's another. The FIRST record of Sepia from New Zealand waters :!:

It's a juvenile, but there's an :meso: out there somewhere.


.... and then there are these!!! This is a fully mature male Histioteuthis macrohista. The male's suckers are quite abnormal in structure ... I've only seen a few of these, and none quite like this one.

Anyone want to take a guess at what those suckers are doing?




Tell me Steve did you do paper in sadism 101?????? :lol:

Cos you're torturing me! I gotta work on &%$^$#^#% Stats and you're showing us cool stuff like this :biggrin2:

I bet I'm not the only one who is totally jealous!

But don't stop posting the pics I got honours in Masochism :lol:


Jean's right, that Histioteuthis macrohista is really bizarre. The suckers look well suited for fixing onto slick surfaces; what's going on with the sprouts on the distal portion? They remind me of the surfaces of bristle-blocks.

Interesting eh! Those 'sprouts' are a form of secondary hectocotylisation - the suckers are quite modified (in addition to the others being swollen).

As far as I can ascertain, nothing remotely like this individual has been described elsewhere - it's something quite novel (even though there's at least one other specimen like it, albeit not quite so developed, in my old collections down at NIWA). I guess I'll make another trip down there in the not-too-distant future to refamiliarise myself with it.

Some species of Opisthoteuthis (Octopoda: Cirrata) develop aberrantly enlarged suckers at sexual maturity. I had thought that these suckers were used to lock the male's arms inside the female's mantle cavity, and perhaps acted as some sort of sperm/spermatophore reservoir. It followed that the same might apply with the Histioteuthis, and that these glandular structures acted like some sort of sperm/spermatophore reservoir .... except then we got the next specimen (pic attached), wherein the female's mantle appears to have been drilled by the male's penis, with the spermatophores implanted directly into her mantle wall (I'm not familiar with any description of a mated Histioteuthis like this either) and have commenced migrating their way through her mantle musculature (those white cylinders seen in cross section on image 3). If the male is directly using the penis to insert spermatophores into the mantle (as does Pholidoteuthis [into the mantle wall], and Architeuthis [into the female's arms]), then the suckers are unlikely to be used as sperm/spermatophore transfer organs.

Their glandular nature might indicate one of pheromone production and release, or possibly that the suckers have assumed a secondary luminescent function.... we'll not know until we see the brute alive. Perhaps a little histology would help answer this question.

See the attached female Histioteuthis pic.



... not yet; am still battling a few other squid, trying to identify them. I'll call in an expert on this one (C.C. Lu), as it's best to get it right first time than to have to correct it (or have someone else do it) later on.

There're problems almost everywhere when it comes to attaching a simple name to any deep-sea squid species - I'm just-about convinced that everything is new these days.
I just had a wee note from Prof Dick Young, Hawaii (also a member, and as you know, world-ceph guru) to say he'd seen spermatophores implanted in the mantle wall of Histioteuthis before, but not in such tidy rows.

Aloha Steve,
I've seen the same thing in Histioteuthis but with spermatangia not so neatly aligned. I've always assumed that the cement gland has an enzyme that dissolves tissue. Then as the squid moves, the spermatangia gradually work their way deep into the tissue.

I learnt something today (well, I pretty much do that every day). Great thesis topic don't you think? Figure out what is going on with these brutes. Takers? You don't even have to do it in NZ - Histioteuthis is everywhere.

Something else of interest has climbed out of a NORFANZ jar... in sorting through a few onychoteuthids I ran across a pair that look to be conspecific, with the female spent and impregnated with spermatophores (looking like a very small (~10 cm DML) Chaunoteuthis in unusually good condition). The male is even more interesting, however - DML ~7 cm, in excellent condition with no visible damage, except the left-hand tentacle appears to be breaking off about 1 cm from the base (Chaunoteuthis females are always without tentacles; all that remains are two symmetrical stumps that bear no evidence of violent detachment - in fact the stumps are usually smooth and pigmented on the distal face) and the right-hand tentacle is in his beak. As in, turned in, disappearing inside the buccal membrane and firmly wedged, with the club protruding back outwards.
I'm calling these Onychoteuthis sp. for now; the hooks are mostly missing on the male and of course the female only has stumps; small nuchal folds are visible and the gladius protrudes prominently along the dorsal midline.

:tentacle: 8)



That's wild! Follows up on old discussions we've had re: autophagy. What drives a squid to eat itself? Is "stress" the right answer? (I know it's the common one)...

I wonder if this says anything regarding the sensory ability of their arms? I remember reading a story somewhere that an octopus' arms are largely independent -- that is, their arms act as isolated sensory units, without necessarily registering their findings to the "central brain". Does the same apply to squid? If it did, I wonder whether a squid could eat its own arm without really being aware? :bugout:

I suppose under extreme stress, the body would be less susceptible to pain anyhow.... :confused:
tonmo said:
I wonder if this says anything regarding the sensory ability of their arms? I remember reading a story somewhere that an octopus' arms are largely independent -- that is, their arms act as isolated sensory units, without necessarily registering their findings to the "central brain".

Strangely enough, I was reading about that around 20 minutes ago.

It's mentioned in Cephalopod Behaviour that octopuses receive no proprioceptive information (i.e. feedback about position and motion) from the arms, that they can't discriminate between heavy and light objects, and that the arms seem to act with a good deal of autonomy from the brain. I get the impression that most of the feedback from the arms deals with texture and taste. :?: I was going to ask in the Arms and Brains thread whether the same was true of squid. I'd also like to know if there's any more info on pain perception in cephs, since Cephalopod Behaviour is not definitive on the issue.

I'd really love to know what's going on with the female's tentacles. Do they just fall off at some stage? Or never grow completely? Or get resorbed? Why would any of those things happen? :bugout: (Pictures?)

Crazy squid.

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