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Onychoteuthis banksii (Leach, 1817)

Michael Vecchione, Richard E. Young, and Kotaro Tsuchiya
Containing group: Onychoteuthis


Onychoteuthis banksii is the type species of the genus. At one point in time this species was considered to have a circumglobal distribution. We now recognize, however, that this species represents a complex of species. No useful diagnostic information was provided in the original description and subsequent discriptions are unreliable due to uncertainty in correct identification. As a result, this species cannot be identified at present. However, the holotype exists (British Museum) and is in fair condition so, ultimately, identification should be possible.


  1. Photophores
    1. Intestinal photophores present. Posterior photophore 3 times diameter of anterior photophore.
    2. Ocular photophore a long whitish patch on ventral surface of each eyeball.
       image info

      Figure. Ventral view of the visceral photophores of O. banksii, holotype. Photograph by M. Vecchione.

  2. Measurements of holotype
    1. Mantle length - 30 mm
    2. Arm lengths - All equal
    3. Fin length - 18 mm
    4. Fin width - 16 mm
    5. Club length - 14 mm
    6. Club hook numbers - 11 in ventral series, 11 in dorsal series.
    7. Largest hooks - Hooks V6 and V7
    8. Smallest mid-series dorsal hooks - Hooks D4 and D5


The holotype (BMNH 1986266) is in fair condition, slightly cleared and without chromatophores. The gladius and left tentacle are missing. Redescriptions of the holotype and specimens from the type locality are badly needed


Type locality: Gulf of Guinea, eastern tropical Atlantic Ocean.


Leach, W.E. 1817. Synopsis of the Orders, Families, and Genera of the Class Cephalopoda. The Zoological Miscellany; being Descriptions of New or Interesting Animals, 3(30):137-141.

Title Illustrations
Scientific Name Onychoteuthis banksii
Specimen Condition Dead Specimen
Type Holotype
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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

Tokyo University of Fisheries, Konan, Minato, Tokyo

Citing this page:

Vecchione, Michael, Young, Richard E., and Tsuchiya, Kotaro. 2003. Onychoteuthis banksii (Leach, 1817). Version 23 June 2003 (under construction). http://tolweb.org/Onychoteuthis_banksii/19962/2003.06.23 in The Tree of Life Web Project, http://tolweb.org/

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Onychoteuthis banksii

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