The deep-water squid Octopoteuthis sicula Ruppell, 1844 (Cephalopoda: Octopoteuthidae) as the single species of the genus occurring in the Mediterranean Sea


MARINE BIOLOGY, vol.163, no.9, 2016 (Journal Indexed in SCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 163 Issue: 9
  • Publication Date: 2016
  • Doi Number: 10.1007/s00227-016-2965-0
  • Title of Journal : MARINE BIOLOGY


The genus Octopoteuthis includes squids inhabiting meso-and bathypelagic waters worldwide. Of the seven presently named species distributed in the world's oceans, only Octopoteuthis sicula has been reported for certain in the Mediterranean Sea to date. However, mixed and confusing descriptions of the systematic characters useful for identifying the species occur in the literature. Similarly, molecular analysis results available for the genus are contradictory and inconsistent. The research herein was undertaken firstly to clarify the systematic status of the genus in the Mediterranean Sea and confirm the presence of a single species, namely O. sicula. Additional goals were the assessment of the validity of systematic characters to identify the species and the analysis of beak morphology to provide useful tools in prey-predator relationship studies. Octopoteuthis specimens from various areas of the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic and Pacific oceans were compared, and the analysis of traditional morphological characters was combined with molecular genetics and the study of beaks. Molecular genetics and beak morphology results support the existence of a single species in the Mediterranean Sea. Additional evidence would suggest that this species is also distributed in the north-eastern Atlantic. The morphological characters reported in the literature to identify O. sicula did not identify Mediterranean specimens, with the exception of the two tail photophores. All information collected supports the need for a reconsideration of morphological characters used to identify Octopoteuthis species.