Alloteuthis is a group of small, slender loliginid squids of minor fisheries importance. There are three nominal Alloteuthis species-A. media (Linnaeus), A. subulata (Lamarck) and A. africana Adam. Two of these species (A. media and A. subulata) have largely overlapping ranges in the Mediterranean and northeastern Atlantic, while A. africana is found along the west coast of Africa. Despite the low level of species diversity, Alloteuthis taxonomy and systematics are confused, and assignment of specimens to species can be difficult. To clarify Alloteuthis systematics, we gathered morphometric data and DNA sequence data from two mitochondrial loci and a nuclear locus from Alloteuthis specimens collected from several localities. Analyses of the morphometric data suggest that head width is the main variable allowing separation of A. africana from the other two species, and central club sucker size separates A. media from A. subulata. One easily diagnosable character often used to distinguish Alloteuthis species-relative fin length-appears to be of little taxonomic value. Only three specimens assignable to A. subulata both morphologically and genetically were found, all from the Adriatic; possible reasons for this apparent rarity are discussed. Gene tree parsimony and coalescent-based methods were used to estimate species relationships from the molecular data, and both supported a sister-species relationship between A. media and A. subulata. Analyses of molecular variation (AMOVA's) revealed significant genetic differentiation between Atlantic and Mediterranean A. media. This study highlights the importance of 1) sampling multiple individuals, locations and loci for species-level phylogenetic studies, 2) using morphometric analyses to reveal taxonomically meaningful morphological characters and 3) accounting for the stochastic nature of the coalescent process when estimating species phylogenies for closely related taxa. (c) 2008 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.