Species Guides & Taxonomic Keys

The following is a list of cephalopod species guides or guides that include cephalopods (listed by Author). If you have suggestions of books or papers to add, please let us know.

The list is divided between references with either Global or Regional coverage.

For an overall, up to date classification of recent cephalopod systematics, see the Tree of Life: Young RE, Vecchione M, Mangold KM. 2017. Cephalopoda – Tree of Life Web Project. http://tolweb.org/Cephalopoda

For a source of recent cephalopod holotypes, synonymies, and type localities, see: Sweeney MJ. 2017. Recent cephalopod primary type specimens: a searching tool. https://cephalopod.files.wordpress.com/2017/05/recent-cephalopoda-primary-types.pdf


Adam W, Rees WJ. 1966. A Review of the Cephalopod Family Sepiidae. John Murray Expedition 1933-34, Scientific Reports, 11(1): 165 pp.

Bolstad KS. 2010. Systematics of the Onychoteuthidae Gray, 1847 (Cephalopoda: Oegopsida). Zootaxa 2696: 186 pp.

Chen, X-J., (陈新军), Liu, B.-J. (刘必林) & Wang, Y.-G. (王尧耕). 2009. Cephalopods of the world. (世界头足类). Ocean Press. Beijing, China. ISBN: 978-7-5027-7202-4. [In Chinese]

Clarke MR, ed. 1986. A handbook for the identification of cephalopod beaks. Oxford UK: Oxford University Press. ISBN -10: 019857603X.

Collins MA, Villanueva R. 2006. Taxonomy, ecology and behavior of the cirrate octopods. Oceanography and Marine Biology: An Annual Review 44: 277–322.

Jereb, P, Roper, CFE, eds. 2005. Cephalopods of the World. An Annotated and Illustrated Catalogue of Cephalopod Species Known to Date. Volume 1. Chambered Nautiluses and Sepioids. FAO Species Catalogue for Fishery Purposes. Rome, FAO. No. 4 (1): 262 pp. ISBN 92-5-105383-9.

Jereb, P, Roper, CFE, eds. 2010. Cephalopods of the World. An Annotated and Illustrated Catalogue of Cephalopod Species Known to Date. Volume 2. Myopsid and Oegopsid SquidsFAO Species Catalogue for Fishery Purposes. Rome, FAO. No. 4 (2): 605 pp. ISBN 978-92-5-106720-8.

Jereb, P, Roper, CFE, Norman, MD, Finn, JK, eds. 2016. Cephalopods of the World. An Annotated and Illustrated Catalogue of Cephalopod Species Known to Date. Volume 3. Octopods and Vampire Squids. FAO Species Catalogue for Fishery Purposes. Rome, FAO. No. 4 (3): 370 pp. ISBN 978-92-5-107989-8.

Nesis, KN. 1987. Cephalopods of the World; Squids, Cuttlefishes, Octopuses, and Allies. Neptune City, NJ, USA: T.F.H. Publications. 351 pp. [English translation of Nesis, K. N. Abridged Key to the Cephalopod Molluscs of the World’s Oceans. 1982. Moscow: Light and Food Industry Publishing House, 385 pp. (In Russian)]

Norman, MD. 2000. Cephalopods: A World Guide. Harxheim, DE: ConchBooks. ISBN-10: 3925919325

Norman MD, Lu CC. 1997. Redescription of the southern dumpling squid Euprymna tasmanica and a revision of the genus Euprymna (Cephalopoda: Sepiolidae). Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom 77(4): 1109-1137.

Norman MD, Hochberg FG. 2005. The current state of octopus taxonomy. Phuket Marine Biological Center Research Bulletin 66: 127–154.

Okutani, Takashi. (奧谷喬司). 2015. Guide to cuttlefishes and squids of the world. [New edition] (新編 世界イカ類図鑑). National Cooperation Association of Squid Processors, Tokyo, Japan. ISBN: ? [In Japanese & English].

Roper CFE, Voss GL. 1983. Guidelines for taxonomic descriptions of cephalopod species. Memoirs of the National Museum Victoria 44: 49−63.

Roper CFE, Young RE, Voss GL. 1969. An illustrated key to the families of the Order Teuthoidea (Cephalopoda). Smithsonian Contributions to Zoology, 13: 32 pp.

Sweeney MJ. 2017. Recent cephalopod primary type specimens: a searching tool. Link

Sweeney MJ, Roper CFE, Mangold KM, Clarke MR, Boletzky, Sv, eds. 1992. “Larval” and juvenile cephalopods: a manual for their identification. Smithsonian Contributions to Zoology 513: 282 pp.

Villanueva R, Norman MD. 2008. Biology of the planktonic stages of benthic octopuses. Oceanography and Marine Biology: An Annual Review 46: 105-202.

Villanueva R, Staaf DJ, Argüelles J, et al. 2012. A laboratory guide to in vitro fertilization of oceanic squids. Aquaculture 342-343: 125-133.

Voss NA. 1980. A generic revision of the Cranchiidae (Cephalopoda; Oegopsida). Bulletin of Marine Science 39(2): 365-412.

Voss NA, Vecchione M, Toll RB, Sweeney MJ, eds. 1998. Systematics and biogeography of cephalopods. Smithsonian Contributions to Zoology 586(I&II): 599 pp.

Young RE, Vecchione M, Mangold KM. 2017. Cephalopoda – Tree of Life Web Project. http://tolweb.org/Cephalopoda


Anderson, RC. 2006. On west coast octopuses including a field key to west coast species. The Festivus XXXVIII(1): 5-6.

Bello G. 2004. First record of paralarvae of Scaeurgus unicirrhus (Cephalopoda: Octopodidae). Journal of Plankton Research 26(12): 1555-1558. [key to early juvenile Mediterranean octopodids]

Bello G. 2013. Description of a new sepioline species, Sepiola bursadhaesa n. sp. (Cephalopoda: Sepiolidae), from the Catalan Sea, with remarks and identification key for the Sepiola atlantica group. Scientia Marina 77(3): 489-499.

Brakoniecki TF. 1980. Lolliguncula tydeus, a new species of squid (Cephalopoda: Myopsida) from the Pacific coast of central America. Bulletin of Marine Science 30(2): 424-430. [key to Lolliguncula and Loliolopsis]

Cardoso F, Hochberg FG. 2013. Revision of the genus Lolliguncula Steenstrup, 1881 (Cephalopoda: Loliginidae) off the Pacific coast of South America. Revista Peruana de Biologia 20(2): 129-136. [key to Pacific Lolliguncula]

Fernandez-Alvarez FA, Martins CPP, Vidal EAG, Villanueva R. 2017. Towards the identification of the ommastrephid squid paralarvae (Mollusca: Cephalopoda): morphological descriptions of three species and a key to the north-east Atlantic species. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 180(2): 268-287.

Frandsen RP, Zumholz K. 2004. Cephalopods in Greenland waters – a field guide. Greenland Institute of Natural Resources Technical Report 58.

Gomes-Pereira JN, Goncalves JM, Clarke MR. 2016. Cephalopod identification keys to Histioteuthidae, Cranchiidae and Octopodiformes of the Azores, with an updated check-list. Arquipelago – Life and Marine Sciences 33: 1-12.

HaywardPJ, Ryland, JS, eds. 1995. Handbook of the Marine Fauna of North-West Europe. Oxford, England, UK: Oxford University Press. ISBN-10: 0198540558

HaywardPJ, Ryland, JS, eds. 2017. Handbook of the Marine Fauna of North-West Europe (2nd Edition). Oxford, England, UK: Oxford University Press. ISBN-10: 0199549443

Hochberg FG. 1998. Class Cephalopoda. In: Scott PV, Blake JA, eds. Taxonomic atlas of the benthic fauna of the Santa Marina Basin and the western Santa Barbara Channel. Volume 8: the Mollusca. Part 1: the Aplacophora, Polyplacophora, Scaphopoda, Bivalvia, and Cephalopoda. Santa Barbara, CA: Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, pp 175–236. ISBN 0-936494-13-1.

Jorgensen EM. 2007. Identification, distribution and relative abundance of paralarval gonatid squids (Cephalopoda: Oegopsida: Gonatidae) from the Gulf of Alaska, 2001-2003. Journal of Molluscan Studies 73: 155–165.

Jorgensen, EM. 2009. Field guide to squids and octopods of the eastern North Pacific and Bering Sea. Fairbanks, Alaska: Alaska Sea Grant College Program. SG-ED-65. ISBN 978-1-56612-139-2.

Laptikhovsky V, Ourens R. 2017. Identification guide for shelf Cephalopods in the UK waters (North Sea, the English Channel, Celtic and Irish Seas).  Centre for the Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science, UK. Link

Lu, Chung-Cheng (盧重成) & Chung, Wen-Sun (鍾文松). 2017. Guide to the Cephalopods of Taiwan (台灣產 頭足類動物圖鑑)Taichung, Taiwan: National Museum of Natural Science. ISBN: 978-986-05-2569-4. [In Chinese & English] Link to purchase

Lu CC, Dunning MC. 1982. Identification guide to Australian arrow squid (Family Ommastrephidae). Technical Report of the Victorian Institute of Marine Sciences 2: 1-30.

Norman MD, Finn J. 2001. Revision of the Octopus horridus species-group, including erection of a new subgenus and description of two member species from the Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Invertebrate Taxonomy, 15:13-35

Norman MD, Hochberg FG. 1994. The shallow-water octopuses of Hong Kong. In: Morton B, ed. The Malacofauna of Hong Kong and Southern China. III. Proceedings of the Third International Workshop on the Malacofauna of Hong Kong and Southern China, Hong Kong, 13 April—1 May 1992. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, pp. 141–159.

Norman, MD, Reid, A. 2000. Guide to Squid, Cuttlefish and Octopuses of Australasia. Clayton, AU: CSIRO Publishing. ISBN-10: 0643065776

Norman MD, Sweeney MJ. 1997. The shallow-water octopuses (Cephalopoda: Octopodidae) of the Philippines. Invertebrate Taxonomy 11(1): 89-140.

Okutani T, Clarke M. 1985. Identification key and species description for Antarctic squids. Biomass Handbook 21: SCAR and SCOR Polar Research Institute, Cambridge.

O’Shea S. 1999. The marine fauna of New Zealand: Octopoda (Mollusca: Cephalopoda). NIWA Biodiversity Memoir 112. Wellington: NIWA Research. ISBN-10: 0478084862.

Reid, A. 2016. Cephalopods of Australia and Sub-Antarctic Territories Clayton, AU: CSIRO Publishing. ISBN-10: 1486303935

Rosa R, O’Dor R, Pierce GJ, eds. 2013. Advances in squid biology, ecology and fisheries. Part I – myopsid squids. Nova Science Publishers Inc. 333 pp. ISBN 978-162808331-6. [most economically important myopsid squids]

Smale MJ, Clarke MR, Klages NTW, Roeleveld MAC. 1993. Octopod beak identification – resolution at a regional level (Cephalopoda, Octopoda: Southern Africa). South African Journal of Marine Science 13: 269-293.

Tsuchiya, Kotaro (土屋光太郎), Yamamoto, Noriaki (山本典暎) & Aba, Hideki (阿部秀樹). 2002. Cephalopods in Japanese waters. (イカ.タコガイドブック). TBS-BRITANNICA Co. Ltd. Tokyo, Japan. ISBN: 4-484-02403-9. [In Japanese]

Vecchione M, Roper CFE, Sweeney MJ. 1989. Marine flora and fauna of the eastern United States Mollusca: Cephalopoda. U.S Department of Commerce, NOAA Technical Report, 73: 30 pp. [Key to neritic cephalopods of the northeastern United States]

Vecchione M, Roper CFE, Sweeney MJ, Lu CC. 2001. Distribution, relative abundance, and developmental morphology of paralaval cephalopods in the western North Atlantic Ocean. U.S Department of Commerce, NOAA Technical Report, 152: 54 pp.

Voss GL, Solis Ramirez M. 1966. Octopus maya, a new species from the Bay of Campeche, Mexico. Bulletin of Marine Science 16(3): 615-625. [key to 8 shallow water octopods in tropical western Atlantic Ocean]

Xavier, JC, Cherel, Y. 2009. Cephalopod beak guide for the Southern Ocean. British Antarctic Survey, Cambridge, UK. 129 pp. ISBN 978-0-85665-146-5 Link

Zaragoza N, Quetglas A, Moreno A. 2015. Identification guide for cephalopod paralarvae from the Mediterranean Sea. ICES Cooperative Research Report 324: 91 pp.