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Some Additional New Zealand Cephalopods from Cook Strait

Family Sepiadariidae — Genus Sepioloidea d'Orbigny, 1839 — Type Species (original designation) Sepiola lineolata Q. & G. — Sepioloidea pacifica (Kirk, 1882)

Family Sepiadariidae
Genus Sepioloidea d'Orbigny, 1839
Type Species (original designation) Sepiola lineolata Q. & G.

Sepioloidea pacifica (Kirk, 1882)

  • 1882. Sepiola pacifica Kirk, Trans. N.Z. Inst. vol. 14. p. 283.
  • 1952. Sepioloidea pacifica (Kirk): Dell. Dominion Mus. Bull. 16. p. 82, Plates 33–35, Text-fig. 5.

Since the writer published what was known of the distribution of this species (Dell. 1952) a large quantity of additional material has been accumulated and the distribution can now be more fully recorded. Kirk originally described the species from Wellington Harbour in 1882, but the type is no longer in existence. In 1952 the writer did not have specimens from Wellington Harbour and there was therefore a little doubt that subsequent identifications of this species might not be correct, especially as Kirk had not figured his species and the description was very short. Specimens are now available from Wellington Harbour and to put the species on a firm footing the writer here designates as Neotype, a specimen in the Dominion Museum (Registered Number. M. 12954) from Lowry Bay, Wellington Harbour, caught in a small otter trawl at night. J. Moreland, 24/5/1953.

The writer has already given measurements for a series of specimens (Dell, 1952, p. 84). the mantle lengths ranging from 15 to 20 mm. These are typical of the usual animals collected in comparatively shallow water. Occasional specimens are very much larger with mantle lengths up to 40 mm. These larger specimens have all come from depths greater than 75 fathoms. Such large specimens are rare, and so far only single individuals have been collected at any station. Larger numbers of specimens up to 30 mm in mantle length have also been collected at such stations. There is not enough material available to prove the point but the indications are that about 3 age groups are represented amongst these specimens, that the majority of individuals die at the end of the first year, and that a very few survive beyond the end of the second year.

It is fairly certain that this species is nocturnal, taking shelter in debris on the sea floor during the day and perhaps even burrowing into soft mud (where it is sometimes quite common) and becoming active at night.

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Localities: Off Tryphena, Great Barrier Island, S. T. Zuyder Zee, W. Sampson. 14.5.54; trawled in vicinity of Cape Colville (Auckland Museum); B.S. 155, 39° 27·5′ S, 176° 54′ E, Hawke Bay in 8 fathoms, J. A. F. Garrick, 21.5.52: Lowry Bay, Wellington Harbour, small otter trawl at night, J. Moreland, 24.5.53, and J. C. Yaldwyn, 31.5.53; B.S. 196, North of Trio Islands, Cook Strait, in 39 fathoms. 3.1.57; Pelorus Sound, dipnet, W. H. Dawbin, —.12.51; north-east of Cape Campbell in 60 fathoms, F. Abernethy, —.4.57; Middle Bank, Kaikoura, in 40 fathoms. F. Abernethy, 7.11.56; Menzies Bay, Lyttelton Harbour, G. Knox and E. Percival, 1949; Dunedin wharves, at light at night, R. K. Dell and J. Moreland, 21.1.57; off Long Beach. Otago, in 12 fathoms, m.v. Alert, 27.6.54; B.S. 190, 45° 45 4′ S, 171° 5′ E, off east Otago coast in 300 fathoms, m.v. Alert, 16.8.55; B.S. 198. 45° 40′ S, 170° 51′ E, NNE of Taiaroa Head in 20 fathoms, m.v. Alert, 13.1.57; B.S. 191, 45° 47′ S, 171° 7′ E, off east Otago coast in 250–300 fathoms, m.v. Alert, 16.8.55; B.S. 202, 45° 44′ S, 171° 2′ E, off east Otago in 75 fathoms, m.v. Alert. 23.1.57; Chatham Island Exped., Station 2, Mernoo Bank in 61 fathoms, 23.1.54; Chatham Island Exped., Station 7, Chatham Rise in 280 fathoms, 24.1.54; Chatham Island Exped., Station 25, Waitangi Wharf, Chatham Islands, on surface at light at night, 29.1.54.

These records now show that Sepioloidea pacifica (Kirk) ranges at least from the Hauraki Gulf to the Otago coast and the Chathams in depths from a few fathoms down to 300 fathoms.