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Mastigoteuthis cordiformis Chun, 1908

Richard E. Young and Michael Vecchione
Containing group: Mastigoteuthidae


The original description of M. cordiformis is based on a single male squid, 80 mm ML with intact tentacles, taken in the Indian Ocean near Sumatra. It has been subsequently described from Japan (Sasaki, 1929) and the Philippines (Voss, (1963). This is the largest of the mastigoteuthids reaching a size of 100 cm ML (A. Salcedo-Vargas, personnal communication).


A mastigoteuthid ...


  1. Tentacles
    1. Tentacular club not expanded (slightly expanded according to Sasaki, 1929, and Voss, 1963), with narrow, trabeculate protective membranes (Chun, 1910).
    2. Club suckers gradually decrease in size toward tip (Chun, 1910); very large suckers (for a mastigoteuthid club) present at proximal end of club.
    3.  image info image info

      Figure. Oral view of the tentacular club of M. cordiformis. Note the large suckers at the proximal end. Top - Holotype. Photograph by R. Young. Bottom - Large specimen (>30 cm ML), fresh, Australian waters. Photograph by Mark Norman.

    4. Club with well-developed (for a mastigoteuthid) trabeculate protective membranes.
       image info image info

      Figure. The club M. cordiformis showing the well-developed trabeculate protective membrane (arrows). Left - Lateral view of a portion of a club, 70 mm ML, Japanese waters. Right - Oral view of a portion of a club, holotype. Photographs by R. Young.

  2. Mantle
    1. Mantle and other skin covered with small, conical tubercules.
    2.  image info image info

      Figure. Left - Ventral view of a portion of the eyelid of M. cordiformis, holotype, showing tile-like arrangement of tubercules. Photograph by R. Young. Right - Scanning electron micrograph with an external view of mantle tubercles of M. cordiformis, 87 mm ML, Philippine waters, 14°N, 121°E. The tubercules are very similar to those of M. hjorti. Photograph from Roper and Lu (1990).

       image info image info

      Figure. Left - Histological section through a skin tubercule of M. cordiformis, holotype. Most of the epithelium has been lost except along one flank of the tubercule. Drawing from Chun (1910). Right - Cross-section through a tubercule of M. cordiformis using scanning electron microscopy. Photograph from Roper and Lu (1990).

  3. Photophores
    1. Photophores absent
  4. Fins
    1. Fin length (anterior extent to insertion on tail) 75% of ML; fin width 72% of ML (Chun, 1910).


More details of the description can be found here.

The descriptions of Chun, Sasaki and Voss contain differences in the shape of the funnel locking-apparatus and the structure of the suckers. The significance of these differences remains to be determined. M. latipinna Sasaki, 1916 (see description under "Species of doubtful validity..." in the Nomenclature section of the family page) is probably a junior synonym of M. cordiformis.

M. cordiformis is most similar to M. hjorti but differs in the absence of ocular photophores and the presence of enlarged proximal club suckers among other features.


Type locality: Indian Ocean south of Sumatra at 0°15'N, 98°8'E. Also known from southern Japanese (Sasaki, 1929) and Philippine (Voss, 1963) waters.


Chun, C. 1910. Die Cephalopoden. Oegopsida. Wissenschaftliche Ergebnisse der Deutschen Tiefsee Expedition auf dem Dampfer "Valdivia" 1898-1899, 18(1):1-401.

Roper, C.F.E. and C.C. Lu 1990. Comparative morphology and function of dermal structures in oceanic squids (Cephalopoda). Smithson. Contr. Zool., No. 493: 1-40.

Sasaki, M. 1929. A Monograph of the Dibranchiate Cephalopods of the Japanese and Adjacent Waters. Journal of the College of Agriculture, Hokkaido Imperial University, 20(supplement):357 pages.

Voss, G. L. 1963. Cephalopoda of the Philippine Islands. Bull. U. S. Nat. Mus., 234: 1-180.

Title Illustrations
Scientific Name Mastigoteuthis cordiformis
Location South Pacific
View Ventral
Size 325 mm ML
Copyright © 2004 Mark Norman
Scientific Name Mastigoteuthis cordiformis
Reference Chun, C. 1910. Die Cephalopoden. Oegopsida. Wissenschaftliche Ergebnisse der Deutschen Tiefsee Expedition auf dem Dampfer "Valdivia" 1898-1899, 18(1):1-401.
View Ventral
Size 83 mm ML (including tail).
Type Holotype
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. 2003. Mastigoteuthis cordiformis Chun, 1908. Version 30 November 2003 (under construction). http://tolweb.org/Mastigoteuthis_cordiformis/19510/2003.11.30 in The Tree of Life Web Project, http://tolweb.org/

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