Island in the Stream: Oceanography and Fisheries of the Charleston Bump

Cephalopods of the Continental Slope East of the United States

Michael Vecchione


Abstract.—Recent observations from trawling and submersibles have shown several species of cephalopods to be common in slope-waters of the western North Atlantic Ocean. The slope-water cephalopods include the commercially-important genus Illex, taxonomy of which remains troubling in the area off Charleston because of the possibility that I. oxygonius is a hybrid. Other common species include another ommastrephid Ornithoteuthis antillarum, single species of Mastigoteuthis, Brachioteuthis, and Pholidoteuthis, several cranchiids, histioteuthids, and sepiolids, two octopodids, the pelagic incirrate octopod Haliphron atlanticus, and the cirrate octopod Stauroteuthis syrtensis. Behavior and distribution of these species contrast with those of truly open-ocean cephalopods, which also are present in slope waters. In-situ observations have shown that several of the squids are more strongly associated with the bottom than was previously supposed and that many of the slope-water cephalopods exhibit unexpected behaviors.