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This is an archived version of a Tree of Life page.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

Watasenia Ishikawa 1914

Watasenia scintillans

Kotaro Tsuchiya
This genus contains a single species.
Containing group: Enoploteuthidae


W. scintillans occurs only in the waters around Japan. It is a member of the mesopelagic boundary fauna in these waters and is fished commercially with set nets.


From Young, et al., 1998.

  1. Arms
    1. Suckers absent from Arms IV (hooks present).*
  2. Tentacles
    1. Manus of club with hooks in one series (2-3 in number) and one series of suckers.
  3. Hectocotylus
    1. Right ventral arm of male hectocotylized.
    2. Hectocotylus with two subequal-sized offset flaps.
  4. Buccal crown
    1. Dark epithelial pigmentation on oral surface rather than typical chromatophores.*
  5. Photophores
    1. Two to four large organs covered by black chromatophores on tips of arms IV.*
    2. Five organs on eyeball.*
    3. Complex organs of integument, in life, probably with red-colored filters.*
*Characters shared with Abraliopsis


Vertical distribution

Spawned eggs are mainly collected from the surface to 80 m depth.

Geographical distribution

W. scintllans seems to be amesopelagic boundary species associated with shelf waters.

This species shows high endemism in the waters of Japan and adjacent areas. It is distributed in the northern sector of the East China Sea and the Kii Channel, Central Japan, northward to Japan Sea, Okhotsk Sea, southeast coast of Honshu, transition zone off Sanriku District to 165° E, and the southeast coast of Hokkaido.

Life History

Eggs and Egg masses

The eggs of W. scintillans is ovoidal, 1.5 mm L x 1 mm D, transparent, no coloration but with weak luster reflection. The adult female has several hundred to 20,000 mature eggs in its oviducts.

The egg mass is narrow gelatinous string more than 1 m with a simple row of eggs.


In Toyama Bay, middle of the Japan Sea, eggs occurred in the plankton in February - July and November - December. In the offshore area of Shimane Prefecture, western Japan Sea, eggs were found throughout the year except for December and January. The peak of egg occurrence is April to late May.

Spawning grounds in Japan Sea were recognized at the shelf edge in east and west of Oki Island and Toyama Bay. Some spawnings were recognized on Yamato-tai Bank.

Spent females were also collected from the open ocean off Sanriku, the Kuroshio-Oyashio transition zone.

Early development

Fertilazed eggs hatch in 14 days at 9.7 °C, 8 days at 13.4 °C and 6 days at 16 °C water tempelature. Lower limit for normal development seems to be at 6 °C (Hayashi, 19**).

At 15 C water temperature:

  1. 1 hr after fertilized: Polar bodies appear.
  2. 6 hrs: First cleavage.
  3. ca. 10 hrs: 100 and more cells.
  4. ca. 16 hrs: Embryonic lobe developed.
  5. ca. 1.5 day: Embryonic lobe covers about half of the egg.
  6. ca. 4 days: Primordial eye appears; oral depression start.
  7. ca. 5 days: Primordial arms, mantle, funnel appear; chromatophore appears on mantle; funnel lobe fused to tube; eye developed.
  8. ca. 8-8.5 days: Hatching; chromatophores appear on head, arm; ink inject in inksac; gill, branchial heart, liver appear.
Hatchling is 1.2-1.4 mm DML, arms, beak, radula, intestinal tract is still primordial; lecithotropic.


This species is an important food items for bottom fishes and large salmonid fishes in the coastal waters of northern Japan (Yamamura, 1993).

Fisheries Interest

W. scintillans is fished commercially in Japan. Total catches in Japan during 1990-1999 are 4,804 to 6,822 tons per year.

In the Toyama Bay, central Japan Sea, squid are cought by fixed net during March to June (the main fishing period is mid-April to early May). The average catch per year is 2,000 tons (250 million individuals) but the catch is variable in each year around from 500 to 4,000 tons.

In the southwestern coast of Japan Sea, squid are caught by bottom trawl. The amount of the catch during 1990-1999 was 1,873 to 3,638 tons per year.


Hayashi, S. 2000.

Segawa, S. 2000.

Yamamura, O. 1993.

Young, R. E., L. A. Burgess, C. F. E. Roper, M. J. Sweeney and S. J. Stephen. 1998. Classification of the Enoploteuthidae, Pyroteuthidae and Ancistrocheiridae. Smithson. Contr. Zool., No. 586: 239-255.

Title Illustrations
Scientific Name Watasenia scintillans
Copyright © Richard E. Young
About This Page

Tokyo University of Fisheries, Konan, Minato, Tokyo

Citing this page:

Tsuchiya, Kotaro. 2000. Watasenia Ishikawa 1914. Watasenia scintillans. Version 01 January 2000 (under construction). http://tolweb.org/Watasenia_scintillans/19645/2000.01.01 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

Watasenia scintillans

Page Content




Explore Other Groups

random page