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Asperoteuthis Nesis, 1980

Richard E. Young and Clyde F. E. Roper
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This genus contains one named species and, at least, two undescribed species.
Containing group: Chiroteuthidae


Little is known obout the biology of any species of Asperoteuthis. The most peculiar feature of this genus is the structure of the tentacular clubs. The distal half of the club has typical suckers and suggests that this part of the club functions in the usual capture of prey. The function of the bare proximal half of the club with its broad protective membranes is less clear but relates to another problem: How can the long and extremely slender tentacles, which in A. acanthoderma can be 7-12 times the mantle length (Tsuchiya and Okutani, 1993), be deployed? Perhaps the wide protective membranes of the proximal region of the club, which are composed virtually entirely of muscular trabeculae, function as muscular fins that swim the club into position.


A chiroteuthid ...


  1. Arms
    1. Long, subequal in length in large subadults.

  2. Tentacles
    1. Club divided into two portions by symmetrical protective membranes.
    2. Suckers only on distal portion of club.
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      Figure. Oral view of tentacular club of Asperoteuthis acanthoderma. Drawing by J. R. Schroeder.

  3. Head
    1. Olfactory organ located well posterior to each eye.

  4. Funnel
    1. Funnel valve present.
    2. Funnel-locking apparatus variable; with inverted Y-shaped groove that poorly defines a weak tragus and strong antitragus or a curved groove without an antitragus. Funnel-locking apparatus unknown in A. lui.
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      Figure. Ventral view of the funnel locking-apparatus, A. acanthoderma. Drawing by J. R. Schroeder.

  5. Tail
    1. Long tail with “secondary fin” retained in adults.

  6. Photophores
    1. Photophores absent from viscera and arms IV.
    2. Large oval photophore patch on ventral surface of each eyeball.
    3. Luminescent pads on tentacles (also in Chiroteuthis).
    4. Aboral surface of club with large photophore on tip (see arrow) and two series of small photophores.
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      Figures. Left - Ventral view of eye of Asperoteuthis acanthoderma from Tsuchiya and Okutani, 1993, showing photophore, with permission. Middle - Tentacle stalk photophores, same species. Drawing by J. R. Schroeder. Right - aboral view of club-tip photophore (arrow), Asperoteuthis mangoldae. Drawing by A. D. Hart.


These squid generally lose the tentacles during capture and can easily be confused with Grimalditeuthis. However the lack of a fused funnel-mantle locking apparatus easily distinguishes them.

  No. club suckers  Skin tubercules  Mantle with circular depressions
Arm sucker dentition  Arm II  sucker size
Fin width  Size of club suckers  Aboral, small club photophores  Terminal club photophore 
A. acanthoderma  ~ 50
Yes  No
3-4 rounded teeth
Enlarged in mid-arm
35-40% of ML  Equal  Lateral margins  Large 
A. mangoldae  ~ 50  No  No
6-10 truncated teeth  No enlarged suckers
45-65% of ML  Equal  Lateral margins  Small 
Asperoteuthis sp. B  ND  ND  No
ND  No enlarged suckers
50-55% of ML  ND


A. lui  180  ND  ND
ND  Enlarged in mid-arm
ND  Marginals larger  midline  Absent 
A. nesisi
 ND YesYes
12-14 pointed teeth
Largest suckers mid-arm but not enlarged
68% of ML


Lu (1977) described Chiroteuthis acanthoderma. Nesis (1980) incorrectly synonymized this species with the incompletely described Chiroteuthis famelica Berry, 1909 (now = Mastigoteuthis famelica, see Young, 1991) and erected for it the new genus Asperoteuthis. The type species of the genus is C. acanthoderma Lu, 1977.

Discussion of Phylogenetic Relationships

Nothing is known of the phylogenetic relationships among the species.

Life History

Paralarvae are known for one species of Asperoteuthis (see Asperoteuthis mangoldae).


Lu, C. C. 1977. A new species of squid Chiroteuthis acanthoderma, from the Southwest Pacific (Cephalopoda, Chiroteuthidae). Steenstrupia, 4: 179-188.

Nesis, K. N. 1980. Taxonomic position of Chiroteuthis famelica Berry. Bull. Moscow Obshch. Ispyt. Prirody, sect. Biology, 85: 59-66. [In Russian].

Tsuchiya, K. and T. Okutani. 1993. Rare and interesting squids in Japan -X. Recent occurences of big squids from Okinawa. Venus, 52: 299-311.

Young, R. E. 1978. Vertical distribution and photosensitive vesicles of pelagic cephalopods from Hawaiian waters. Fishery Bulletin, 76: 583-615.

Young, R. E. 1991. Chiroteuthid and related paralarvae from Hawaiian waters. Bull. Mar. Sci., 49: 162-185.

Title Illustrations
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Scientific Name Asperoteuthis acanthoderma
Creator J. R. Schroeder
Copyright ©
About This Page

Richard E. Young
University of Hawaii, Honolulu, HI, USA

Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D. C., USA

Page: Tree of Life Asperoteuthis Nesis, 1980. Authored by Richard E. Young and Clyde F. E. Roper. The TEXT of this page is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License - Version 3.0. Note that images and other media featured on this page are each governed by their own license, and they may or may not be available for reuse. Click on an image or a media link to access the media data window, which provides the relevant licensing information. For the general terms and conditions of ToL material reuse and redistribution, please see the Tree of Life Copyright Policies.

Citing this page:

Young, Richard E. and Clyde F. E. Roper. 2010. Asperoteuthis Nesis, 1980. Version 17 March 2010. in The Tree of Life Web Project,

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