Body large and transparent. Two pairs of lateral fins, partially rayed; fins connected by a broad fin bridge. Anterior fins long, beginning the level of the ventral ganglion. Posterior fins rounded. Collarette and alimentary diverticula absent. Eyes small, with small pigment spot.
Ovaries long, extending to the ventral region. Seminal vesicles round to oval in shape, located closer to the posterior fin than to the tail fin.
Hooks: 5-11. Teeth in two rows, anterior 4-6 and posterior 5-8.
Maximum body length 90 mm; relative tail length 19-25%. S. maxima is one of the largest chaetognath species.
Meso- to bathypelagic. S. maxima shows thermal submergence, i.e. avoiding warmer surface layers; therfore the species occurs more shallow with higher latitudes.
Distribution in the North Sea
Northern North Sea, probably also more to the South and the East.
Widespread in cold deep waters of the World Oceans.
In identification, Sagitta maxima resembles closely Sagitta lyra. In in Sagitta maxima the posterior fins begin at the middle of the ventral ganglion; in Sagitta lyra these fins begin at the posterior end of the ventral ganglion. The relative tail length in Sagitta maxima is greater than in Sagitta lyra.
[After Pierrot-Bults and Chidgey, 1988]