Mantle in larvae and juveniles barrel-shaped, in adults cylindrical, narrowing posteriorly. Head usually not retractable into mantle. Fins tongue-like in larvae, transverse-oval with almost straight posterior margin in juveniles and adults. In larvae 3rd, and particularly, 4th arms developing much later than 1st and 2nd. Larval tentacular club with 4 straight longitudinal rows of suckers, decreasing from ventral to dorsal row, later marginal suckers becoming larger than central ones, after that (at Ml approx. 8 mm) central suckers transformed into hooks. In adults 12-14 pair of hooks, marginal suckers absent or only in small numbers on proximal and distal part of club. No nuchal folds on head. Gladius narrowly lancet-shaped, not visible from dorsal, with acute chitinous needle behind, not protruding through the skin upon fixation. Skin smooth. Large chromatophores covering both dorsal and ventral sides of mantle, color intense, from red-brown to deep-bluish (on dorsal mantle side). No photophores. Barrel-shaped mantle, straight posterior margin of fin, intense pigmentation (from ML approx. 3 mm), and club armament are characteristic features. ML up to 10 cm.
One species in the Atlantic; larvae epipelagic, juveniles (but not adults) live at the surface (even during the day).