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Mastigoteuthis flammea: Chun's type description

Michael Vecchione and Richard E. Young

Click on an image to view larger version & data in a new window
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Figure. Type illustrations of M. flammea. Modified from Chun (1910).


The type description of M. flammea is based on two small squid (27 and 35 mm ML) from the eastern Equatorial Atlantic, both of which had lost their tentacles.


  1. Arms
    1. Arm suckers with 3-5 teeth on distal side.
    2. Larger arm suckers 0.4 mm wide.

  2. Tentacles
    1. Lost during capture.

  3. Head
    1. Eyes small, 2.2 mm and 3.8 mm (8-11% of ML); much smaller than head length.
    2. Nuchal cartilage illustrated by Chun, 1910.
    3. Click on an image to view larger version & data in a new window
      Click on an image to view larger version & data in a new window

      Figure. Dorsal view of nuchal cartilage of M. flammea, 35 mm ML. Drawing from Chun (1910).

  4. Funnel locking-apparatus
    1. Funnel locking-apparatus with both tragus and antitragus. The drawing at the right shows the locking-apparatus of the two type specimens.
    2. Click on an image to view larger version & data in a new window
      Click on an image to view larger version & data in a new window

      Figure. Funnel locking-apparatus of M. flammea. Left - 27 mm ML. Right - 35 mm ML. Drawings from Chun (1910).

  5. Mantle
    1. Tubercules absent on mantle and elsewhere.

  6. Fins
    1. Fin length about half the ML.
    2. Fins slightly longer than wide when measured to the tip of the tail, rhomboidal to elliptical.

  7. Photophores
    1. Widely separated integumental photophores present on ventral side of mantle and head, dorsal side of fins and outer surface of arms IV (see title illustration). A cross-section of the integumental photophore is seen on the family page.
    2. Eyelid photophore present (holotype).

  8. Pigmentation
    1. Live animal dark red from numerous chromatophores and integumental pigment (Chun, 1910).
    2. Oral surface of arms with only sparse chromatophores; nearly colorless in live animal (Chun, 1910).
    3. Coloration disappeared almost completely after preservation (Chun, 1910).

  9. Measurements
    Source Chun, 1910 Chun, 1910
    Sex Female Female
    Mantle length 27 35
    Fin length along base 13 21
    Fin width 18 ?
    Head length 5 ?
    Head width 5.5 8
    Eye diameter 2.2 3.8
    Arm I, length: Left / Right 7 14 / 10.5
    Arm II, length 12 15
    Arm III, length 10.5 11
    Arm IV, length 45 40


The above information is taken from the type description (Chun, 1910). M. flammea is the only member of the genus that was originally descriped from the tropical Atlantic. The syntype that we examined (35 mm ML specimen), had the gladius missing and nothing could be determined of the sucker dentition. A funnel pocket was present. Other than confirming the presence of photophores, little else could be determined from the specimen.

The presence of an antitragus in both type specimens as described by Chun is problematical. Perhaps the antitragus is lost with increasing size. For the present, we have placed this species in the synonomy of M. agassizii.


Type localities: Gulf of Guinea, near San Thomé Island at 0°25'N, 7°0'E (35 mm ML) and further west at 1°14'N, 2°10'W (27 mm ML).


Chun, C. 1910. Die Cephalopoden. Oegopsida. Wissenschaftliche Ergebnisse der Deutschen Tiefsee Expedition auf dem Dampfer "Valdivia" 1898-1899, 18(1):1-401.

About This Page

National Museum of Natural History, Washington, D. C. , USA

University of Hawaii, Honolulu, HI, USA

Correspondence regarding this page should be directed to Michael Vecchione at and Richard E. Young at

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