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Hyaloteuthis pelagica is one of the smallest ommastrephid species reaching a mantle length of 90 mm (Nesis, 1982/87) and may mature earlier than any other ommastrephid (46 mm ML mm ML for females - Dunning, 1998). Its maximum size is approximately the same as the dwarf Todarodes pusillus.
H. pelagica occurs in the upper 100 m at night but little is known about its daytime habitat although Young (1978) reported a mature female from 1,700-2,200 m captured in an opening-closing tow during the day off Hawaii. On one occasion, large numbers of mature H. pelagic were found stranded on a beach on Kauai, Hawaii (pers. comm.). Little is known of its general ecology.
- 19 large, round photophores on mantle.