Australian Biological Resources Study

Australian Faunal Directory


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Compiler and date details

C.C. Lu, National Chung Hsing University, Taichung, Taiwan


The family Thysanoteuthidae Keferstein, 1866 comprises two genera, Thysanoteuthis Troschel and Cirrobrachium Hoyle. Only the monotypic genus Thysanoteuthis is well known. Cirrobrachium is known from larval forms and fragments of adults from the Atlantic only and its taxonomic status is unclear.

Thysanoteuthis rhombus was recorded from among the stomach contents of lancetfish from the south-western Pacific and north-eastern Indian Ocean by Rancurel (1970) and Fujita & Hattori (1976). Nesis (1979) recorded net-caught specimens from the Australasian region and the species was first recorded from Australian nearshore waters by Dunning (1982).

Thysanoteuthis rhombus may exceed 800 mm mantle length (ML); females spawn gelatinous sausage-shaped egg masses 150 to 200 mm in diameter and up to 1 m long. A spiral double row of eggs of up to 2 mm diameter is contained in the external layers and these masses have been found near the surface. Around Japan, spawning occurs during the summer months; the smallest hatchlings are 1.1 mm ML (Misaki & Okutani 1976; Suzuki et al. 1979). Lancetfish (Alepisaurus), yellowfin tuna, spotted dolphin and blue marlin all prey on T. rhombus (Clarke 1966; Rancurel 1970, 1976; Fujita & Hattori 1976; Wolff 1982).

Thysanoteuthis rhombus is an oceanic species, generally caught in the upper 50 m of the water column. Juveniles apparently are capable of leaping out of the water but not of 'flying’ as observed in ommastrephids and onychoteuthids. Adults are slow swimmers (Nishimura 1966). In Australian waters, thysanoteuthids have been observed singly or in pairs, although groups of up to 20 have been observed elsewhere (Clarke 1966).

This species occurs circumglobally in tropical surface waters and in the East Australian Current system as far south as north-eastern Tasmania. Juveniles have also been recorded from tropical waters off the North West Shelf.



Thysanoteuthis rhombus is characterised by a funnel locking cartilage with a long narrow longitudinal groove and a short broad transverse groove, a muscular mantle, and rhombic fins extending the length of the mantle in adults. Arm suckers are biserial and the tentacular suckers are tetraserial. The lateral arms are strongly keeled in large specimens. Long cirrate trabeculae on the arms support a well-developed web, and buccal connectives attach to the ventral borders of the ventral arms. The left ventral arm in males is hectocotylised. No photophores are present.


General References

Clarke, M.R. 1966. A review of the systematics and ecology of oceanic squids. Advances in Marine Biology 4: 91-300

Dunning, M. 1982. Squid and cuttlefish resources of Australian waters. FAO Fisheries Report FID/R275: 103-111

Fujita, K. & Hattori, J. 1976. Stomach content analysis of longnose lancetfish, Alepisaurus ferox, in the eastern Indian Ocean and the Coral Sea. Japanese Journal of Ichthyology 23(3): 133-142

Misaki, H. & Okutani, T. 1976. Studies on early life history of decapodan mollusca — VI. An evidence of spawning of an oceanic squid, Thysanoteuthis rhombus Troschel, in the Japanese waters. Venus 35(4): 211-213

Nesis, K.N. 1979. A brief zoogeographic survey of the pelagic zone around Australia and New Zealand (Cephalopods). Trudy Instituta Okeanologii. Akademiya Nauk SSSR. Moskva 106: 125-139 [in Russian]

Nishimura, S. 1966. Notes on the occurrence and biology of the oceanic squid, Thysanoteuthis rhombus Troschel, in Japan. Publications of the Seto Marine Biological Laboratory 14(4): 327-349

Rancurel, P. 1970. Les contenus stomacaux d'Alepisaurus ferox dans le sud-ouest Pacifique (Céphalopodes). Cahiers O.R.S.T.O.M. Serie Océanographique 8(4): 4-87

Rancurel, P. 1976. Note sur les Céphalopodes des contenus stomacaux de Thunnus albacares (Bonnaterre) dans le Sud-ouest Pacifique. Cahiers O.R.S.T.O.M. Serie Océanographique 14(1): 71-80

Suzuki, S., Misaki, H. & Okutani, T. 1979. Studies on early life history of decapodan Mollusca. VIII. A supplementary note on floating egg mass of Thysanoteuthis rhombus Troschel in Japan—the first underwater photography. Venus 38: 153-55

Wolff, G.A. 1982. A study of feeding relationships in tuna and porpoise through the application of cephalopod beak analysis. Texas A & M Univ. Tech. Rept. DAR-7924779, 231 pp.


History of changes

Note that this list may be incomplete for dates prior to September 2013.
Published As part of group Action Date Action Type Compiler(s)
20-Mar-2014 TEUTHIDA 20-Mar-2014 MODIFIED Dr Julian Finn (NMV)
12-Feb-2010 (import)