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Promachoteuthis megaptera is known from only two specimens: the holotype, 15 mm ML captured during the Challenger Expedition in the late 19th century and a female, 52 mm ML, captured 105 years later (1980) from nearly the same locality. It is most easily distinguished from congeners by the lack of a head-mantle fusion in the nuchal region, the long arms and tentacles, and a dark band at the base of the tentacles (see arrow in title photograph).
- without nuchal fusion between head and mantle.
- with 2 series of suckers on arms.
- with pigment band around tentacle at base and without papillae on tentacles.