Pholidoteuthis is unusual amongst genera of squid in that the mantle is beset with close-packed dermal cushions (scales). Despite frequent reference to species in this genus, considerable systematic confusion surrounds usage of the generic name, erected prematurely given that the same systematic characters apply for the earlier Tetronychoteuthis Pfeffer, 1900, and species attributed to it. The synonymy and ontogenetic morphology of Pholidoteuthis massyae (Pfeffer 1912) new comb., the senior synonym of P. boschmai Adam, 1950, is reported. The relationship between this species and others referred to Tetronychoteuthis, Lepidoteuthis, the Pholidoteuthidae Adam, 1950, Lepidoteuthidae Pfeffer, 1912 and Octopoteuthidae Berry, 1912, is discussed. A conjectural account of the mechanics of mating in P. massyae is provided based on the nature of spermatophore insertion in the female mantle, and modification to the terminal region of the male's genital apparatus.