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Alloteuthis subulata (Lamarck 1798)

Michael Vecchione and Richard E. Young
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Containing group: Alloteuthis


Maximum mantle length of A. subulata is 20 cm in males, 12 cm in females.
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Figure. Dorsolateral view of A. subulata. Photographed by Jan Schroeder while scuba diving in Kiel Bay, western Baltic Sea.


  1. Mantle
    1. Mantle long and narrow.
    2. Anterior ventral mantle margin shallowly curved.
    3. Tail long and pointed in adult females (length of posterior extension plus fins 66% of dorsal mantle length) and very long and spike-like in adult males (72% of dorsal mantle length).
  2. Fins
    1. Fin width index (width of both fins as a percentage of dorsal mantle length) 23% in adult females and 10% in adult males.
    2. Posterior borders concave and extending along tail.
  3. Buccal crown
    1. Buccal lappets without suckers.
  4. Arms:
    1. Arm length medium to short.
    2. Arm suckers with 6 to 10 square teeth on dista1 half, smooth on proximal half.
    3. Left ventral arm hectocotylyzed, with 6 to 8 pairs of normal suckers proximally, followed distally by 2 longitudinal series of fine papillae.
  5. Tentacles
    1. Tentacles short, delicate.
    2. Clubs small, narrow.
    3. Median manal suckers small.

Habitat and Biology

Usually associated with sandy and hard bottoms, occurring at  depths down to 200 m. In the North Sea, males and females arrive together in inshore waters in early summer. The sole spawning season is restricted to June and July. Juveniles of 2 mm ML hatch after a few weeks; they first occur in plankton samples  toward the end of July; after about 15 to 30 days they shift to the demersal life habits of the adults; by November, at an  age of 3 months (size about 3 cm ML), they leave the North Sea until the following spring (size about 5 cm ML).  Longevity is between 1 and 2 years. The species feeds on small and juvenile fishes.

Geographic Distribution

Eastern Atlantic: North Sea and western Baltic Sea south to the Sahara Banks, extending into the Mediterranean Sea.

Other Names for Alloteuthis subulata (Lamarck 1798)

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
Acknowledgements C. F. E. Roper, Michael J. Sweeney and Cornelia E. Nauen. 1984. Cephalopods of the World. An Annotated and Illustrated Catalogue of Species of Interest to Fisheries. FAO Fisheries Synopsis No 125, Vol. 3. 277 pp. Rome: FAO 1984.
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 subulata (Lamarck 1798). 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 subulata (Lamarck 1798). Version 02 September 2010 (under construction). http://tolweb.org/Alloteuthis_subulata/52721/2010.09.02 in The Tree of Life Web Project, http://tolweb.org/

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