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Mastigoteuthis agassizii Verrill, 1881

Michael Vecchione and Richard E. Young
Containing group: Mastigoteuthidae


M. agassizii is the type species of the genus.


A mastigoteuthid ...


  1. Arms
    1. Arm suckers with oblique aperatures on inner rings and smooth inner margins.  image info

      Figure. Oral view of sucker of M. agassizii from middle of a lateral arm. Drawing from Verrill (1881b).

  2. Tentacles
    1. Tentacles shaped like "whip-lash." Club covers half of tentacle length. Club base with scattered suckers mostly in two series for some distance. (Verrill, 1881b).
    2. Club suckers with circular aperature often with 2-3 teeth on one side (Verrill, 1881b).

      Figure. Tentacular club of M. agassizii. Left - Aboral view of a portion of the club. Right - Various views of club suckers. Drawings from Verrill (1881b).

  3. Funnel locking-apparatus
    1. Funnel locking apparatus: "...earshaped, elevated cartilage, on each side, fitting into corresponding deep, circumscribed pits..." (Verrill, 1881b).
    2. Figure. Funnel-mantle locking-apparatus of M. agassizii. Left - Frontal view of the funnel component, fresh squid, off N.E. coast of USA. Photograph by M. Vecchione. Right - Lateral view of the head and funnel showing the funnel locking-apparatus and a portion of the mantle reflected back to reveal a frontal view of the mantle component. Drawing from Verrill (1881b).

  4. Mantle
    1. Tubercules absent from mantle and other integument.
  5. Photophores
    1. Integumental photophores on dorsal and ventral mantle, dorsal fin, head and arms (Verrill, 1881b).
    2. Eyelid photophores present (Young, 1972).  image info

      Figure. External view of a portion of the mantle skin of M. agassizii showing bare photophores (black arrows) and photophores with their covering chromatophores (white arrows), fresh squid, off N.E. coast of USA. Photograph by M. Vecchione.

  6. Fins
    1. Fin length about half combined head and body.
  7. Measurements
    Source Verrill, 1881b Verrill, 1881b
    Sex Male Male
    Mantle length 46 99
    Mantle width 15 23
    Fin length 30 60
    Fin width 42 75
    Eye diameter 7.5 9
    Arm I, length 24 45
    Arm II, length 33 60
    Arm III, length 34 60
    Arm IV, length 80 112
    Tentacle length -- 312


This is the only species of Mastigoteuthis that has integumental photophores but smooth arm sucker rings.


Type locality: Off northeast coast of the United States at 33°25'N, 76°W and 34°28'N, 75°23'W.


Verrill, A.E. 1881a. Report on the Cephalopods, and on Some Additional Species Dredged by the U.S. Fish Commission Steamer "Fish Hawk", During the Season of 1880. Bulletin of the Museum of Comparative Zoology, 8(5):99-116.

Verrill, A.E. 1881b. The Cephalopods of the North-eastern Coast of America. Part II. The Smaller Cephalopods, Including the "Squids" and the Octopi, with Other Allied Forms. Transactions of the Connecticut Academy of Sciences, 5: 259-446.

Title Illustrations
Scientific Name Mastigoteuthis agassizii
Location Oceanographer Canyon, off New England, USA
Comments Photographed in a shipboard aquarium on an NSF cruise under the direction of Marsh Youngbluth, Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution
Specimen Condition Live Specimen
Identified By M. Vecchione
Copyright © 2004 David Shale
About This Page

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

Richard E. Young

Dept of Oceanography
University of Hawaii
Honolulu, Hawaii 96822

Correspondence regarding this page should be directed to Michael Vecchione at

Citing this page:

Vecchione, Michael and Young, Richard E. 2003. Mastigoteuthis agassizii Verrill, 1881. Version 30 November 2003 (under construction). http://tolweb.org/Mastigoteuthis_agassizii/19508/2003.11.30 in The Tree of Life Web Project, http://tolweb.org/

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