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Gonatopsis japonicus was described by Okiyama (1969) based on two immature females collected by squid jigging from the sub-surface layer in the Sea of Japan. Nesis (1997) considered that G. japonicus was a juvenile of G. makko described by Okutani and Nemoto in 1964. Although G. makko is a preceding name, Nesis recomended to apply G. japonicus instead of G. makko due mainly to the bad condition of G. makko types.
However, complete development of arm hooks and pigmentation on beaks of the holotype (150 mm ML) indicate that G. japonicus may mature at small size. In addition, fin size and proportion are apparently different from G. makko which supports G. japonicus as a vallid species. G. japonicus has five rows of teeth on the radula which places this species into genus Gonatopsis sensu stricto.
A Gonatopsis with...
- slender muscular mantle with relatively large, narrow fins and long attenuate tail.
- large head, broader than mantle opening.
- robust arms bearing well-developed heavy hooks.
- sub-equal arms, the longest about 55% of mantle length.
- five rows of teeth on the radula.