go to the Tree of Life home page
Under Construction
This is an archived version of a Tree of Life page. For up-to-date information, please refer to the current version of this page.

Chtenopteryx sicula (Verany 1851)

Richard E. Young and Michael Vecchione
Containing group: Chtenopterygidae


This is the type species of the genus. The type locality is off Messina, Italy. The type is thought to be at the Museum National d'Histoire Naturelle, Nice (Sweeney and Roper, 1998). We have recently examined two small squids from the Mediterranean Sea that do have the visceral photophore in contrast to the description given by Naef below. As a result, the identity of C. sicula remains uncertain as two species appear to be present in the Mediterranean Sea.


A Ctenopteryx ...


  1. Arms
    1. Formula: 4>3>2>1.
    2. Arms I-III with 2 sucker series proximally becoming at least 4 series distally.
  2. Tentacles
    1. Club without keel or protective membranes (Naef's large specimen was damaged, this character has questionable validity).
    2. Suckers of club in more than 8 series.
  3. Photophores
    1. Large photophore present on ventral surface of eye.
    2. Visceral photophore absent (see illustration below).

       image info

      Figure. Ventral view of the viscera of apparently the same specimen as in the title illustration, showing the absence of a visceral photophore and the presence of the accessory nidamental gland. Drawing modified from Naef, 1921/23b.


A detailed description of this squid from the Mediterranean has not been published to our knowledge. The description of Pfeffer (1912) was based on squid of 13 mm ML and smaller. Joubin (1900) described a composite of three squid of about 50 mm ML taken from the stomach of a dolphin caught off Corsica. Unfortunately these specimens were in poor condition. Earlier descriptions lacked detail. Naef, 1921-23a, made the most detailed description of this species from squid captured off Naples. The description presented here is based on his account. More details of the description can be found here.


Chtenopteryx fimbriatus Appellof, 1890, (from off Messina, Mediterranean Sea) Chtenopteryx cyprinoides Joubin, 1894 (from Corsican waters, Messina, Mediterranean Sea stomach of a dolphin) and Chtenopteryx neuroptera Jatta, 1896 (from off Napels, Mediterranean Sea) are considered synonyms of C. sicula by Pfeffer (1912). We accept this view until it can be established that more than one species of the genus is present in the Mediterranean Sea. Pfeffer (1912) established a new form (Chtenopteryx sicula forma chuni) based on a 7 mm ML squid described by Chun from the Indian Ocean. The distinction was based on developmental differences in fin length compared to Mediterranean specimens at similar sizes.

There is some confusion in the literature over the proper spelling of the species name. The species was originally named as Sepioteuthis sicula but the ending was emended by Pfeffer (1912) to siculus when he placed the species in Chtenopteryx. Mike Sweeney checked into this and replies, "...I just had a conversation with Ted Bayer. Verany used sicula as an adjective for the Sepioteuthis of Sicily. Chtenopteryx is feminine and therefore requires the species ending as sicula (not siculus)."

Life History

The paralarval stages are similar to those of other species of Chtenopteryx. Chromatophore differences, if present, have not been identified as yet. Left - Two very young paralarvae, ca. ...mm ML, side view. The circular tentacular clubs have about 20 suckers, irregularly arranged. Two chromatophores are present on each side of the mantle. Middle - A more advanced paralarva, ca ... mm ML, ventral, dorsal and side views. An equatorial circulet of 7 large yellow-brown chromatophores is present on the mantle. Posteriorly the expanded vanes of the gladius are visible in the dorsal view. Right - A even more advanced paralarva, ca. ... mm ML, ventral and dorsal views. Description of paralarvae paraphrased from Naef, 1921/23a.
 image info


Geographical distribution

Due to our poor understanding of the species-level systematics in this genus, the presence of Chtenopteryx sicula outside of the Mediterranean Sea is uncertain.


Appellof, A. 1890. Teuthologische Beitrage. I. Chtenopteryx n.g., Veranya sicula Krohn. Calliteuthis Verrill. Bergens Museums Aarsberetning. 1889(33):1-34.

Jatta, G. 1896. I Cefalopodi viventi nei Golfo di Napoli (Sistematica). Fauna und Flora des Golfes von Neapel. 23: 268 pp.

Joubin, L. 1894. Note p;reliminaire sur les Cephalopodes provenents des campagnes du Yacht, L'Hirondelle. Memoires de la Societe Zoologique de France, 7: 211-216.

Joubin, L. 1900. Cephalopodes provenant des campagnes de la Princesse-Alice (1891-1897). Resultats des Campagnes Scientifiques accomplies sur son yacht par Albert Ier Prince Souverain de Monaco. 17:1-135.

Naef, A. 1921-23a. Cephalopoda. Fauna und Flora des Golfes von Neapel. Monograph, no. 35. English translation: A. Mercado (1972). Israel Program for Scientific Translations Ltd., Jerusalem, Israel. 863pp., IPST Cat. No. 5110/1,2.

Naef, A. 1921-23b. Cephalopoda. Fauna e Flora de Golfo di Napoli. Monograph, no. 35, 863 pp.

Pfeffer, G. 1912. Die Cephalopoden der Plankton-Expedition. Ergebnisse der Plankton-Expedition der Humboldt-Stiftung. 2: 1-815.

Sweeney, M. J. and C. F. E. Roper. Classification, type localities and type repositories of Recent Cephalopoda. Smithson. Contr. Zool., No. 586 (vol. II): 561-599.

Title Illustrations
Scientific Name Chtenopteryx sicula
Location off Naples
Reference modified from Naef, A. 1921-23b. Cephalopoda. Fauna e Flora de Golfo di Napoli. Monograph, no. 35, 863 pp.
View Dorsal and ventral
About This Page

Richard E. Young

Dept of Oceanography
University of Hawaii
Honolulu, Hawaii 96822

National Marine Fisheries Service
Systematics Laboratory
National Museum of Natural History
Washington, D. C. 20560

Citing this page:

Young, Richard E. and Vecchione, Michael. 2001. Chtenopteryx sicula (Verany 1851). Version 31 October 2001 (under construction). http://tolweb.org/Chtenopteryx_sicula/19441/2001.10.31 in The Tree of Life Web Project, http://tolweb.org/

close box

This page is a Tree of Life Leaf Page.

Each ToL leaf page provides a synopsis of the characteristics of a group of organisms representing a leaf at the tip of the Tree of Life. The major distinction between a leaf and a branch of the Tree of Life is that a leaf cannot generally be further subdivided into subgroups representing distinct genetic lineages.

For a more detailed explanation of the different ToL page types, have a look at the Structure of the Tree of Life page.

close box

Chtenopteryx sicula

Page Content




Explore Other Groups

random page