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This is an archived version of a Tree of Life page.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.

Thysanoteuthidae Keferstein, 1866

Thysanoteuthis rhombus Troschel, 1857

The diamondback squid

Richard E. Young and Michael Vecchione
Thysanoteuthis contains a single species.
Containing group: Oegopsida


T. rhombus is a large, muscular squid (ca. 100 cm ML max.) found throughout tropical and subtropical regions of the world's oceans. It occupies near-surface waters during the night and midwaters during the day. It has rather short arms and large triangular fins that extend the full length of the mantle. It is fished commercially in the Sea of Japan and off Okinawa.


An oegopsid ...


  1. Arms
    1. Arm suckers in two series.
    2. Buccal crown connectives attach to ventral margins of arms IV.
  2. Tentacles
    1. Tentacular clubs with four series of suckers.
  3. Head
    1. Nuchal (dorsal head-mantle) locking-apparatus with two mantle hook-like knobs
      and opposing nuchal knobs and pits.
       image info

      Figure. Anterior view of the nuchal locking-apparatus (white knobs in the center of the photograph) of T. rhombus, central North Pacific. Photograph by R. E. Young.

  4. Funnel
    1. Funnel locking-apparatus with grooves arranged
      like sidewise ("lazy") T.
       image info

      Figure. Ventral view of funnel locking-apparatus of T. rhombus; anterior is to the left. Photograph, central North Pacific, by R. E. Young.

  5. Fins
    1. Fin length equals mantle length.
    2. Fins insert on sides of mantle rather than gladius.

  6. Photophores
    1. Photophores absent.

  7. Gladius
    1. Vanes of gladius project anteriorly.
       image info

      Figure. Ventral view of the T. rhombus gladius, 188 mm GL. In addition to the anteriorly projecting vanes, note the conus field but the absence of a conus. Drawing from Toll (1998).


A list of all nominal genera and species in the Thysanoteuthidae 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

T. rhombus lays sausage-shaped egg masses that float just beneath the surface of the ocean (Suzuki, et al., 1979). Eggs lie in a double strand that winds helically around a large gelatinous core. Embryos near to hatching bear large numbers of chromatophores. This is the most commonly observed egg mass of any oceanic squid.

 image info image info

Figure. Left - T. rhombus egg mass with pink egg strands visible around the periphery of the egg mass. Photograph by Alberto Romeo with his wife, Lucia, in the background. Photograph was taken in the south Tirreno Sea within the Mediterranean Sea. Right - Advanced embryos from a T. rhombus egg mass, off Florida. Photograph by T. LaRoe. The dense arrangement of chromatophores on the mantle provide the pink color of the left photograph.

The paralarvae of T. rhombus are distinctive. The small eyes and the numerous chromatophores (incompletely shown below) are characteristic as are the attenuate arm tips in the larger paralarvae. In large paralarvae, the third arms also have long slender trabeculae which are not shown in the drawing.

 image info image info

Figure. Ventral view of paralaravae of T. rhombus, Hawaiian waters. Left - 2.3 mm ML. Right - 7.5 mm ML. The scale bar is 1 mm. Drawings by R. Young.


Suzuki, S., H. Misaki and T. Okutani. 1979. Studies on early life history of decapodan Mollusca. VIII. A supplementary note on floating egg mass of Thysanoteuthis rhombus Troschel in Japan - The first underwater photography. Venus 38: 153-155.

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

Nigmatullin, C. M. and A. I. Arkhipkin. 1998. A review of the biology of the diamond back squid, Thysanoteuthis rhombus (Oegopsida: Thysanoteuthidae).p. 155-181. In: (T. Okutani, Ed.) Contributed Papers to International Symposium on Large Pelagic Squids. Japan Marine Fishery Resources Research Center, Tokyo.

Toll, R. B. 1998. The gladius in teuthoid systematics. Smithson. Contr. Zool., No. 586: 55-68.

Title Illustrations
Scientific Name Thysanoteuthis rhombus
Location off Philippines
Specimen Condition Live Specimen
Life Cycle Stage young
View Dorsal
Copyright © 1996 John Arnold
Scientific Name Thysanoteuthis rhombus
Location Hawaiian waters
Comments M. Parry holding
Sex f
Life Cycle Stage immature
View Side
Copyright © 1996 Richard E. Young
Scientific Name Thysanoteuthis rhombus
Location Mediterranean
Reference from Naef, A. 1921-23. Cephalopoda. Fauna e Flora de Golfo di Napoli. Monograph, no. 35, 863 pp.
View dorsal
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. 1996. Thysanoteuthidae Keferstein, 1866. Thysanoteuthis rhombus Troschel, 1857. The diamondback squid. Version 01 January 1996 (under construction). http://tolweb.org/Thysanoteuthis_rhombus/19420/1996.01.01 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

Thysanoteuthis rhombus

Page Content




Explore Other Groups

random page