Subclass Coleoidea is the grouping of cephalopods containing all the primarily soft-bodied creatures. Unlike its sister group the Nautiloidea, which has a rigid outer shell for protection, the coleoids have at most an internal bone or shell that is used for buoyancy or support. Some species have lost their bone altogether, while in some it has been replaced by a cartilaginous support structure.

The major dividings of Coleoidea are based upon the number of arms or tentacles and their structure. The extinct and most primitive form, the Belemnoidea, presumably had ten equally sized arms, in five pairs numbered ventral to dorsal as I, II, III, IV and V. More modern species either modified or lost a pair of arms. The superorder Decapodiformes has arm pair IV modified into long tentacles with suckers generally only on the club-shaped distal end. Superorder Octopodiformes has modifications to arm pair II; it is significantly reduced and used only as a sensory filament in the Vampyromorphida, while Octopoda species have totally lost that arm pair.



  • Bather, F.A. (1888). "Shell-growth in Cephalopoda (Siphonopoda)". Annals and Magazine of Natural History 6 (1): 298–310.

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