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Opisthoteuthis californiana Berry 1949

Richard E. Young and Michael Vecchione
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Containing group: Opisthoteuthis


  1. Arms and suckers
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      Figure. Oral view of O. californiana, male, 70 mm ML, Japanese waters. Photograph from Taki (1963).

    1. Suckers enlarged in males in two fields;
    2. Sucker arrangement, arms II-IV (male): 1 small; 1 intermediate; 8-10 greatly enlarged; 5 (arms II) or 14 (arms III) or 12 (arms IV) much smaller; 20-30 minute.
    3. Sucker arrangement, arms I (male):1-2 minute; 1 intermediate; 8 greatly enlarged; 1 intermediate; 11-13 small; 1 intermediate; 6 greatly enlarged; 10-12 tiny.
  2. Head
    1. Beaks: Descriptions can be found here: Lower beak; upper beak.

The male specimens examined by Taki (1963) (see drawings below) had the following characteristics:

  1. Proximal field with suckers 4-11 enlarged (about 5-7 times those of the female); suckers 6 or 7 usually largest; all arms with equal enlargement.
  2. Distal field with 4-7 suckers enlarged, that correspond to sucker numbers 24-32; only arms I have a distal field.
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Figure. Diagramatic arrangement of suckers of O. californiana, arms I (left - top; right - lower) and drawings of the proximal and distal portions of right arm I, note abnormal sucker near arm base. Drawings from Taki, 1963.


The above description is taken from Berry (1955) with the addition of a photograph and drawings from Taki (1963) of animals taken off Japan. More details of the description of O. californiana can be found here.

O. californiana and O. albatrossi are distinctive among species of Opisthoteuthis in having greatly enlarged suckers in the distal field only on arms I. The holotype of O. albatrossi is a young male and the proximal field may not have developed. These two species could be synonyms (Hochberg, pers. comm.)


Type locality: Off Eureka Bar, California, 350 m. Also known from Japan, off Kashima-Nada, 530-560 m. Nesis (1982/87) reports it from the Bering Sea to the Sea of Okhotsk to off central Honshu in the northwestern Pacific and to off southern California in the northeastern Pacific.


Berry, S. S. 1949. A new Opisthoteuthis from the eastern Pacific. Leaflets in Malacology, 1 (6): 23-26.

Berry, S. S. 1952. The flapjack devil fish, Opisthoteuthis, in California. Calif. Fish and Game, 38: 183-188.

Berry, S. S. 1955. The male flapjack devilfish. California. Calif. Fish and Game, 41: 219-224.

Taki, I. 1963. On four newly known species of Octopoda from Japan. J. Fac. Fish. Anim. Husb., Hiroshima Univ., 5: 57-93.

Title Illustrations
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Scientific Name Presumably O. californiana
Location Northeast Pacific at 45.0N, 130.0W. 1551 m depth.
Comments Image courtesy of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI). You must obtain permission from MBARI to use this photo; please contact pressroom@mbari.org for further information
Acknowledgements Susan Von Thun, photo editing, MBARI
Specimen Condition Live Specimen
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Copyright © 2011 MBARI
About This Page

University of Hawaii, Honolulu, HI, USA

National Museum of Natural History, Washington, D. C. , USA

Page: Tree of Life Opisthoteuthis californiana Berry 1949. Authored by Richard E. Young and Michael Vecchione. 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:

Young, Richard E. and Michael Vecchione. 2003. Opisthoteuthis californiana Berry 1949. Version 13 May 2003 (under construction). http://tolweb.org/Opisthoteuthis_californiana/20155/2003.05.13 in The Tree of Life Web Project, http://tolweb.org/

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