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(Lichtenstein 1818)

Adult. Mantle not slender, somewhat torpedo-shaped. Head relatively small. Tentacles are long and strong. One row of suckers along the ventral edge of tentacular stalk. Club is short, its length 13-17 % of mantle length [G.fabricii-tc ]. In addition to the central hook in the club, three hooks and one sucker are present; central hook is very large and sharp. There are 9-13 transverse rows of suckers and hooks in the basal half of the third arm; 14-17 transverse rows of suckers in the basal half of the fourth arm. Fin is heart-shaped, passing beyond the posterior end of the mantle.
Two large chromatophores on the ventral surface of the head.
Radula: lateral teeht of radula completely smooth.
Ratio of tentacle club length and pen length ranging from 0.12 to 0.21
Larva: [G.fabricii-l ]; note the typical chromatophore pattern. Larval tentacle bulbs developing with animal size [G.fabricii-ltc ].

Mantle length 30-35 cm

Depth range
Lower epipelagic and mesopelagic; at night sometimes ascending to the surface; also living at the bottom on the slopes. Larvae and juveniles live in the epipelagic zone.

Distribution in the North Sea
Possible northern North Sea, but rare.

World distribution
All deep Subarctic and Arctic waters of the N Atlantic, from Newfoundland in the south-west to the Barentsz Sea in the north-east. The distributions of eastern G. steenstrupi and western Gonatus fabricii overlap in the Irminger Sea.

G. fabricii resembles very much Gonatus steenstrupi. The chances to find either G. fabricii or G. steenstrupi in the North Sea are probably small. Old records of Gonatus fabricii in the area could be, in fact, Gonatus steenstrupi (Kristensen, 1981)

[Kristensen, 1981]

[neotype described by Kristensen, 1981, distribution after Kristensen, 1981]

Gonatus fabricii