Deep Sea News

Octopod Teeth

i-587c1da841f36163cedb0a140715bf23-PromachSpCOral-783523.jpg Many of you have probably seen this already. No doubt, you have said something like

This thing has teeth where a beak should be — disquietingly human teeth, at that.

The picture is disturbing to say the least and will haunt my dreams. So is the picture real? Yes.

The species is Promachoteuthis sulcus recently described by Young, Vecchione, and Roper. The published figure is…


What you see is the oral view of the brachial and buccal crown. The supposed teeth are papillae on the lips of the buccal mass common in cephalopods (See below).
Image from


  1. #1 Andrew Bleiman
    October 29, 2007

    thanks craig. the real question is though, can it be stopped?

  2. #2 BrianR
    October 29, 2007

    I wish I hadn’t seen this right before going to bed…that freaky lookin’ mouth will haunt me tonight. Thanks.

  3. #3 Yuval Langer
    October 30, 2007

    “The supposed teeth are papillae on the lips of the buccal mass common in cephalopods.”
    So these “teeth” are just meaty lips and the beak is somewhere inside or maybe totally ripped from the specimen?

  4. #4 plover
    October 30, 2007

    Shouldn’t the post be called “Decapod Teeth”?

  5. #5 Yuval Langer
    October 30, 2007

    Plover, it has 8 short arms (octopod) and 2 long tentacles.

  6. #6 CR McClain
    October 30, 2007

    You are right it is oegopsid squid and thus decapodiformes. Most early blog post across the web misidentified it as a octopus thus the title. Forgot to mention this in the post. Thanks for catching it!

  7. #7 mandrake
    October 30, 2007

    I’m confused. I’ve seen pictures of beaks removed from the other Promachoteuthis specimens. They look like beaks. There is no description of the beak for this specimen (P. sulcus) – they stat that “The gladius and beaks were not removed from the squid for examination.” Therefore, the beak is still there.
    I’m not seeing it.

  8. #8 CR McClain
    October 30, 2007

    The only thing I can think of is that it is withdrawn into the buccal mass. It is unclear to me too.

  9. #9 mandrake
    October 30, 2007

    if you find out please post! It’s bugging the heck out of me, and I don’t have a teuthologist handy to ask if they do that a lot. (The squid, not the scientists.)

  10. #10 Christopher Taylor
    November 5, 2007

    I’ve put a link to this post up at Linnaeus’ Legacy.

  11. #11 ExistentialDuck
    February 15, 2009

    Wow… With creatures like these, we don’t need to explore space to find aliens – just hop in a submarine!

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