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Neoteuthidae Naef, 1921

Michael Vecchione and Richard E. Young
This family has four genera, each with a single species.
Containing group: Oegopsida


The Neoteuthidae contains weakly muscled species of small to moderate size (up to 27 cm). They are distinctive in having peculiar fins in which free posterior fin lobes are present and anterior lobes are absent. In addition, the fins attach laterally on the mantle muscle. The tentacular club is unusual in having the manus divided into two distinct regions: a proximal-manus carrying numerous small suckers in irregular series and a distal-manus mostly carring four regular series (may be slightly more suckers in initial portion) of larger suckers. The appearance of the club is similar to that of some species of brachioteuthids. Little is known about the biology of this group.


An oegopsid ...


  1. Arms
    1. Arms with biserial suckers.
    2. Buccal connectives attach to the dorsal margins of arms IV.
  2. Tentacles
    1. Suckers mostly in four series over distal manus and dactylus. (The number of series may be slightly more at the interface between the proximal and distal manus and, in NewGenus, somewhat less on the distal portion of the dactylus.) Proximal manus with more than 10 irregular series.
    2. Club locking apparatus extends, at least, along the length of the proximal manus.
       image info
       image info

      Figure. Top - Oral views of tentacular clubs of Neoteuthis thielei, 83 mm ML, off California. drawing from Young, 1978. Bottom - Alluroteuthis antarctica, Antarctic waters. Drawing from Roper, et al., 1969.

  3. Funnel
    1. Funnel with straight locking-apparatus.
  4. Fins
    1. Anterior fin lobes absent; posterior fin lobes free.
    2. Fins mostly attach to dorsolateral sides of mantle.
       image info

      Figure. Left - Dorsal view of mantle of Neoteuthis sp., 83 mm ML, off California (from Young, 1972). Right - Ventral view of mantle of Alluroteuthis antarctica (from Roper et al., 1969).

  5. Photophores
    1. Photophores absent.
  6. Skin
    1. Outer surfaces of arms, head and mantle with thick white tissue (presumably silver in life) in most genera.


The genera are compared in the following table:
Genus Club length Proximal-manus length relative to remaining distal club length tentacle locking apparatus Manal sucker laterally compressed Two greatly enlarged suckers on distal manus Arm sucker dentition Fin length
Alluroteuthis 33% ML <1/3 X Manus, stalk No No Single large tooth 35-40% ML
Neoteuthis 60% ML 4.8 X Manus No No Truncated teeth 70% ML
Nototeuthis 37% ML 3/4 X Manus, stalk No Yes Truncated teeth 60% ML
Narrowteuthis 20% ML 1.1 X Manus, stalk Yes No Smooth 35% ML


A list of all nominal genera and species in the Neoteuthidae 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

The paralarva of any Neoteuthis species has not been positively identified. However, a paralarva off Hawaii was tentatively identified to this genus by a process of elimination rather than the more reliable process of following a size series to identifiable juveniles. One of the keys to identification is the position of the digestive gland in an anterior postion adjacent to the cephalic cartilage. This feature is usually characteristic of families with buccal connectives that attach to the dorsal borders of arms IV.

Figure. Ventral and dorsal views of a paralarva tentatively identified as Neoteuthis sp., 5.9 mm ML, Hawaiian waters


Nesis, K. N. and I. V. Nikitina. 1986. New genus and species of squid of the family Neoteuthidae (Cephalopoda: Oegopsida) from the south-eastern part of the Pacific Ocean. Zool. Zhurnal, Mos. 65: 290-294.

Roper, C. F. E., R. E. Young and G. L. Voss (1969). An illustrated key to the families of the order Teuthoidea. Smiths. contr. zool., 13:1-32.

Young, R. E. 1972. The systematics and areal distribution of pelagic cephalopods from the seas off Southern California. Smithson. Contr. Zool., 97: 1-159.

Title Illustrations
Scientific Name Neoteuthis
Location Bahamas
Comments collected by submersible
Life Cycle Stage juvenile
Copyright © 1996 Ron Gilmer
Scientific Name Neoteuthis thielei
Location off California, USA
Reference Young, R. E. 1972. The systematics and areal distribution of pelagic cephalopods from the seas off Southern California. Smithson. Contr. Zool., 97: 1-159.
View dorsal
Size 83 mm ML
Copyright © Richard E. Young
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

Citing this page:

Vecchione, Michael and Young, Richard E. 2003. Neoteuthidae Naef, 1921. Version 01 January 2003 (under construction). http://tolweb.org/Neoteuthidae/19417/2003.01.01 in The Tree of Life Web Project, http://tolweb.org/

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