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Brachioteuthidae Pfeffer 1908

Marek Lipinski and Richard E. Young
Two genera are presently recognized in this family.
taxon links [down<--]Oegopsida Interpreting the tree
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Containing group: Oegopsida


Brachioteuthids are small to medium sized squids (ca. 15 cm ML). The mantle is muscular but generally rather thin. The tentacular clubs are unusual: The dactylus is normal (four sucker series) but the proximal part of the manus is greatly expanded and carries numerous small suckers on long stalks. Another unusual feature is the compact digestive gland that is located well posterior to the cephalic cartilage in the mantle cavity (note the spindle-shaped digestive gland in the above photo).

Little is known about the biology of brachioteuthids although Roper and Vecchione (1996) describe an accumulation observed from a submersible near the ocean floor at a depth of about 800 m. An AVI format video clip of a squid from this aggregration is available here.


An oegopsid ...


  1. Arms
    1. Arm suckers in two series.
    2. Buccal-crown connectives attach to ventral borders of arms IV.
  2. Tentacles
    1. Proximal region of manus of club greatly expanded with small suckers on long stalks in numerous irregular series.
    2. Dactylus of club with suckers in four series.
       image info

      Figure. Oral view of tentacular club of Brachioteuthis sp., western North Atlantic. Photograph by M. Vecchione.

  3. Funnel
    1. Funnel-locking cartilage with straight groove.

  4. Mantle
    1. Mantle muscular but thin.

  5. Fins
    1. Fins short; anterior lobes free.

  6. Photophores
    1. Single, large, ventral ocular photophore may or may not be present.

  7. Viscera
    1. Compact digestive gland located well posterior to cephalic cartilage.


A list of all nominal genera and species in the Brachioteuthidae can be found here. The list includes the current status and type species of all genera, and the current status, type repository and type locality of all species and all pertinent references.

Life history

Members of the family have characteristic paralarvae. The paralarvae have long necks containing a fluid-filled sac that extends as a reservoir into the body (Young, et al., 1985). Contraction of the reservoir can greatly increase the length of the neck, thereby extending the head from the mantle.

 image info

Figure. Lateral view of a paralarva of Brachioteuthis sp. just a few days post-hatching, Hawaiian waters. Photograph by R. Young.


Roper, C. F. E. and M. Vecchione (1996). In-situ observations on Brachioteuthis: paired behavior, possibly mating. Am. Malac. Bull., 13(12):55-60.

Young, R. E., R. F. Harman and K. M. Mangold (1985). The eggs and larvae of Brachioteuthis sp. (Cephalopoda: Teuthoidea) from Hawaiian waters. Vie Milieu, 35: 203-209.

Title Illustrations
Scientific Name Brachioteuthis sp.
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Copyright © 1996 Richard E. Young
About This Page

Marek Lipinski

Marine and Coastal Management, Sea Fisheries Institute Private Bag X2 Roggebaai 8012 Cape Town, South Africa

Richard E. Young

Dept of Oceanography
University of Hawaii
Honolulu, Hawaii 96822

Correspondence regarding this page should be directed to Marek Lipinski at

Citing this page:

Lipinski, Marek and Young, Richard E. 1996. Brachioteuthidae Pfeffer 1908. Version 01 January 1996 (under construction). http://tolweb.org/Brachioteuthidae/19409/1996.01.01 in The Tree of Life Web Project, http://tolweb.org/

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