Friday Cephalopod: no one remembers third place

This is a recently caught specimen of Onykia robusta, the third largest species of squid in the world. Everyone knows the colossal squid and the giant squid, which can get to be about 15 meters long, but the Robust Clubhook squid is #3 at 4 meters.


  1. nahuati says

    The squid getting caught inadvertently in the fishing net is sad, but fortunately this animal can be used for educational purposes.

    The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) reports some information on this species.

    Assessment Information:

    Onykia robusta is an oceanic species with a wide geographic distribution, making it less susceptible to human impact. However, the take as bycatch (and therefore the potential threat) has not been quantified and more research is still needed on its ecology and biology. We therefore assess this species as Data Deficient.

    Habitat and Ecology:

    This oceanic species attains very large sizes up to 1,615 mm in mantle length (Vecchione et al. 2009) and occurs near the sea floor and in pelagic waters. Its diet includes other invertebrates like benthic heart urchins (e.g. Briaster townsendi) and pelagic jellyfish (e.g. Velella velella), and is considered an important link in the North Pacific food chain (Roper and Jereb 2010, Orlov 2007). Predators include sperm whales, which are major predators, and fur seals (e.g. Callorhynus ursinus) as well as fish (e.g. sleeper sharks, Somniosus pacificus) (Roper and Jereb 2010, Orlov 2007). Little is known about its biology and ecology.

    Conservation Actions:
    There are no conservation actions in place for this species. Further research is required on the population size, life history and ecology of this species.

  2. moarscienceplz says

    no one remembers third place

    Poor thing just has a lousy PR agent. I mean when your competition is the colossal squid and the giant squid, and someone sticks the moniker Robust Clubhook squid on you, you’re doomed before you even get started.

  3. barbaz says

    Even the Octonauts have an Episode about each the colossal and the Giant squid, and 3 other squids, too, but none about this one.

  4. lesherb says

    The picture is credited to Humboldt State University, which shares its name with yet another kind of squid!