Overview

Brief Summary

Introduction

Figure. Opisthoteuthis agassizii (?) on the bottom (video frame). JSL II dive 1746; 25 April 1989; St. Vincent I.; depth = 586 m; temp. = 6.6°C (from Vecchione and Roper, 1991).

The body of these octopods is foreshortened along the anterior/posterior axis. The foreshortening is extreme in Opisthoteuthis which is known as the "flapjack" (pancake) devilfish due to its flattened appearance. The secondary web is absent. The radula is reduced or absent apparently reflecting the habit of swallowing prey whole (Aldred, et al., 1983). The cirri are short when compared to those of the Cirroteuthidae. Most opisthoteuthids alternate between sitting on the ocean floor and swimming just above it (e.g., Peyera, 1965). Opisthoteuthis swims mainly by contraction of the arm-web complex while Grimpoteuthis uses primarily powerful fin strokes to swim (Vecchione and Young, 1997). Some opisthoteuthids (species of Luteuthis and some species of Grimpoteuthis) apear, judging from their very gelatinous consistency, to be entirely pelagic. An AVI format video clip of the Opsithoteuthis shown at the right is available at Cephalopods in Action.

Brief diagnosis:

A cirrate ...

  • with body axis strongly compressed in anteroposterior plane.
  • with simple U-, V- or W-shaped shell.

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Comprehensive Description

Nomenclature

O'Shea (1999) described a new genus, Enigmatiteuthis, which he placed in his family Grimpoteuthidae. He also placed Grimpoteuthis wulkeri, G. bathynectes and G. pacifica in his new genus. Collins (in press) in his examination of the North Atlantic species of Grimpoteuthis concluded that species of Enigmatiteuthis should be placed in Grimpoteuthis (i.e., Enigmatiteuthis is a junior synonym of Grimpoteuthis).

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Characteristics

Figure. Oral view of arm of Grimpoteuthis bathynectes, showing web nodule (arrow). Drawing modified from Voss and Pearcy, 1990.

Figure. Left to right - Opisthoteuthis grimaldii shell (U-shaped), stained, photographed by R. Young; Cirroctopus glacialis shell (V-shaped), stained, photographed by R. Young; Luteuthis shuishi shell (W-shaped), photograph from O'Shea and Lu, 2002.

  1. Shape and consistency
    1. Body axis anterior-posteriorly compressed (shell reaches, or nearly reaches, posterior end of body; i.e., no gelatinous extension of the body exists posterior to the shell).

  2. Arms and web
    1. Suckers and cirri extend to tips of arms.
    2. Secondary web absent.
    3. Web nodules (= web support) present (arrow) in some genera.
    4. Suckers unmodified.

  3. Cirri
    1. Cirri short (length 0.4 - 2.5 times diameter of largest sucker).

  4. Shell
    1. Simple U-, V- or W-shaped.
    2. Lateral wings not expanded or only slightly expanded.

  5. Pigmentation
    1. Areolar spots present (arrow) in some genera.

Figure. Side view of a young Opisthoteuthis albatrossi showing areolae (arrow). Drawing modified from Sasaki, 1929.

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Evolution and Systematics

Evolution

Discussion of Phylogenetic Relationships

The systematic positions of Grimpoteuthis and Luteuthis are uncertain. Voss and Pearcy (1990) place Grimpoteuthis in the family Opisthoteuthidae and O'Shea (1999) places it in its own family. O'Shea also places Luteuthis in its own family. Collins (in press) places Luteuthis in the Opisthoteuthidae but leaves Grimpoteuthis in its own family. We have adopted a conservative approach here pending a more thorough understanding of the family.

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD) Stats
Specimen Records:32
Specimens with Sequences:24
Specimens with Barcodes:23
Species:7
Species With Barcodes:7
Public Records:13
Public Species:4
Public BINs:4
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© Barcode of Life Data Systems

Source: Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD)

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Barcode data

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© Barcode of Life Data Systems

Source: Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD)

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Genomic DNA is available from 2 specimens with morphological vouchers housed at University of Ostrava
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© Ocean Genome Legacy

Source: Ocean Genome Resource

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Wikipedia

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