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Alloteuthis Wulker, 1920

Michael Vecchione and Richard E. Young
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Image: Photograph by Peter Wirtz

Alloteuthis contains three species.

taxon links [up-->]Alloteuthis africanus [up-->]Alloteuthis subulata [up-->]Alloteuthis media [down<--]Loliginidae Interpreting the tree
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Type species. -- Loligo media Linnè, 1758 by original designation of Naef in an unpublished manuscript cited by Wulker [see Vecchione et al. (1998)].
Containing group: Loliginidae


Small loliginids of the eastern Atlantic.

Brief diagnosis:

A loliginid ...


  1. Arms
    1. Hectocotylus:
      1. Ventral crest absent.
      2. Proximal suckers unmodified.
      3. Proximal region with 10 - 12 (usually 11) normal suckers in ventral series followed distally by papillae.
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      Figure. Oral view of the hectocotylus of Alloteuthis media, Gulf of Tunis, preserved. Photograph by R. Young.

  2. Tentacles
    1. a Tentacular clubs expanded, suckers in four series; two medial manal series with larger suckers.

  3. Head
    1. Buccal supports without suckers.

  4. Mantle
    1. Mantle long, relatively narrow; posterior end drawn out into narrow, pointed tail, up to 6 cm in adults.
    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. Ventral view of A. subulata showing dimorphism in the relative sizes and shapes of mature males. Top - Small male which we presume to be a sneaker male (sneakers are known in L. reynauldii - Hanlon, et al., 2002). Bottom - Large male with elongate tail. Females are approximately the same size and shape as the small male. Drawings from Naef (1921-3).

  5. Fins
    1. Fins reach posterior tip of mantle.
    2. Fins heart-shaped, lateral angles rounded, posterior borders concave, extending posteriorly along tail.

  6. Photophores
    1. Photophores absent.

  7. Viscera
    1. Eggs small.
    2. Spermatophore with small cement gland.


Alloteuthis is morphologically very similar to Loligo and was considered by Vecchione et al. (1998) to be a subgenus.  However, molecular analyses by Anderson (2000) indicate that Alloteuthis should be a separate genus. This supports earlier inferences by Naef (1921-23) and Alexeyev (1989) that the presence of a gladial conus in Alloteuthis should be considered a generic character. The conus in Alloteuthis would clearly separate the genera but it can be very difficult to find and in some Alloteuthis specimens may be reduced until it is essentially absent. The posterior tip of the mantle in Alloteuthis is elongate into a tail-like structure that tends to be more pointed than in Loligo.  This is particularly true for males but identification of this character state can be subjective in females.


Eastern Atlantic Ocean from about 55°-60°N to 20°S.


Anderson, F.E. 2000. Phylogeny and historical biogeography of the loliginid squids (Mollusca: Cephalopoda) based on mitochondrial DNA sequence data. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 15: 191-214.

Alexeyev, D.O. 1989. Advantages and limitations of using the gladius in diagnosis of species and genera of the family Loliginidae (Cephalopoda). Zoologichesky Zhurnal, 68(6):36-42.

Naef, A. 1921-1923. Die Cephalopoden. Fauna e Flora del Golfo di Napoli, Monographie 35, Vol I, Parts I and II, Systematik, pp 1-863.

Vecchione, M., T. F. Brakoniecki, Y. Natsukari and R. T. Hanlon. 1998. A provisional generic classification of the family Loliginidae. Smithson. Contr. Zool., 586.

Vecchione, M., E. Shea, S. Bussarawit, F. Anderson, D. Alexeyev, C.-C. Lu, T. Okutani, M. Roeleveld, C. Chotiyaputta, C. Roper, E. Jorgensen and N. Sukramongkol. 2005. Systematics of Indo-West Pacific loliginids. Phuket Mar. Biol. Cent. Res. Bull. 66: 23-26.

Title Illustrations
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Scientific Name Alloteuthis subulata
Location Off Cascais, Portugal
Specimen Condition Live Specimen
Identified By Peter Wirtz
View Dorsal-oblique
Copyright © 2007 Peter Wirtz
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

Page: Tree of Life Alloteuthis Wulker, 1920. Authored by Michael Vecchione and Richard E. Young. The TEXT of this page is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License - Version 3.0. Note that images and other media featured on this page are each governed by their own license, and they may or may not be available for reuse. Click on an image or a media link to access the media data window, which provides the relevant licensing information. For the general terms and conditions of ToL material reuse and redistribution, please see the Tree of Life Copyright Policies.

Citing this page:

Vecchione, Michael and Richard E. Young. 2010. Alloteuthis Wulker, 1920. Version 02 September 2010 (under construction). http://tolweb.org/Alloteuthis/23876/2010.09.02 in The Tree of Life Web Project, http://tolweb.org/

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