|Lesser flying squid (Todaropsis eblanae)|
Ommastrephidae is a family of squid containing three subfamilies, 11 genera, and over 20 species. They are widely distributed globally and are extensively fished for food. One species, Todarodes pacificus, comprised around half of the world's cephalopod catch annually.
The ommastrephids are small to large squids, with mantle lengths ranging from that of the glass squid (Hyaloteuthis pelagica) at 9 cm (3.5 in), to the Humboldt squid (Dosidicus gigas) at 1.5 m (4.9 ft). The mantle narrows towards the back and possesses large terminal fins. The family is characterized by an inverted T-shaped funnel locking cartilage. They have an easily recognizable, slender, feather-shaped gladius with a hollow cone structure (the primary conus). Light organs (photophores) are present along the head and mantle of members of the subfamily Ommastrephinae.
Ommastrephid arms have a double series of suckers. The enlarged tips (the clubs) of the tentacles have four rows of suckers, except in the genus Illex, which has eight. Hooks are absent. One of the ventral arms develops into a secondary sexual organ (the hectocotylus) in males.
All ommastrephids are active predators. Their arms and tentacles bear sharp teeth and are used to grasp and bring prey to their beaked mouths. They are very strong swimmers, and some species are known to glide out of water to escape predators.
Ommastrephid paralarvae are distinctive for having fused tentacles, looking like a single "proboscis". It gradually splits into two as the paralarvae grow becoming completely separated once they reach mantle lengths of 5 to 10 mm (0.20 to 0.39 in).
Distribution and habitat
Ommastrephidae was first established by the Danish zoologist Japetus Steenstrup in 1857. It is classified under the suborder Oegopsina of the order Teuthida (squids). It is divided into three subfamilies – Illicinae, Ommastrephinae, and Todarodinae; further subdivided into 11 genera and more than 20 species.
These subfamilies, genera, species, and subspecies are classified under Ommastrephidae:
- Family Ommastrephidae
- Subfamily Illicinae
- Genus Illex
- Subfamily Ommastrephinae
- Genus Dosidicus
- Dosidicus gigas, Humboldt squid, jumbo flying squid or jumbo squid
- Genus Eucleoteuthis
- Eucleoteuthis luminosa, striped squid or luminous flying squid
- Genus Hyaloteuthis
- Hyaloteuthis pelagica, glassy flying squid
- Genus Ommastrephes
- Ommastrephes bartramii, neon flying squid or red flying squid
- Genus Ornithoteuthis
- Genus Sthenoteuthis
- Subfamily Todarodinae
- Genus Martialia
- Martialia hyadesii, sevenstar flying squid
- Genus Nototodarus
- Genus Todarodes
- Genus Todaropsis
- Todaropsis eblanae, lesser flying squid
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