First records of egg masses of Nototodarus gouldi (McCoy, 1888)

(Mollusca: Cephalopoda: Ommastrephidae)
with comments on egg-mass susceptibility to damage by fisheries trawl

New Zealand Journal of Zoology, 2004, Vol. 31: 161–166
0301–4223/04/3102–0161 © The Royal Society of New Zealand 2004

Z03030; Online publication date 12 May 2004 Received 24 July 2003; accepted 3 November 2003

Earth and Oceanic Sciences Research Institute
Auckland University of Technology
Private Bag 92 006
Auckland 1020, New Zealand

Allan Wilson Centre for Molecular Ecology and Evolution
Massey University
Private Bag 102 904 North Shore
Auckland, New Zealand


The egg mass and embryos of the ommastrephid squid Nototodarus gouldi McCoy, 1888 are reported for the first time, their identity confirmed by mitochondrial 16S rDNA sequence determination. The egg mass is a free-floating gelatinous sphere of at least 1.5 m diameter and contains an estimated several thousand randomly distributed eggs; similar egg masses recorded from north-eastern New Zealand waters of 1.0–2.0 m diameter are reported. Observed fluctuations in populations for this and other squid species may be a partial result of trawl damage to the egg masses.


In recent years, nine reports of large gelatinous spheres sighted off north-eastern New Zealand have been brought to our attention. Between November 2001 and March 2003, eight of these spheres ranging from 1.0 to 2.0 m diameter were reported by divers off the Poor Knights Islands (Fig. 1); a further sighting was reported from Deep Water Cove, Bay of Islands, in November of 1997 (Table 1).

In photographs, these structures bore striking resemblance to egg...
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About the Author
Steve O'Shea
Steve is an expert in the systematics and biogeography of cephalopods, and joined the staff in June 2002. He can be seen on the Discovery Channel documentary, Chasing Giants: On the Trail of the Giant Squid. For more information, see his Autobiography and Select Bibliography (2003). Dr. O'Shea lives in New Zealand.


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