Sepiida, commonly known as Cuttlefish, is not a singular species; it encompasses about 120. Cuttlefish are in the same class as Cephalopods, like the squids, nautilus, and octopus. Its name Sepiida is derived from the Latin word sepia, which is the name of the dye that Cuttlefish can produce.
The most notable Cuttlefish are the Common Cuttlefish for its sheer number distribution, the Pharaoh Cuttlefish, known for its sheer size, and the Flamboyant Cuttlefish, known for its majestic color pattern.
Featured Image Credit: Sam Tucker_Photography
Cuttlefish are significantly smaller than squid and octopus. The tiniest varieties of Cuttlefish were about 2 in at most. Pharaoh Cuttlefish can grow to a maximum length of 20 in and weigh up to 25 lbs. Cuttlefish have long, relatively flat bodies, a beak resembling a parrot, and the ability to change their color for camouflage. The internal cuttlebone is filled with gas and serves for forward propulsion and also buoyancy control.
It also has two tentacles, eight arms, and a system of suction pads on its arms and tentacles that are used to catch prey. At any time, the arms and tentacles may be pulled back into two pouches.
Cuttlefish are a carnivore species. They have a large brain-to-body ratio which allows for more complex behavior, such as conditioned place preference. As it turns out, Cuttlefish will remember places associated with food. Cuttlefish feed by grabbing food with their extending tentacles and then immobilizing it with a poisonous bite.
They prey on fish, crabs, prawns, and shrimp. The beak of the cuttlefish, which is found at the ends of its arms, is powerful enough to crack strong crab shells. An interesting thing about Cuttlefish is that they are known to consume their own kinds. Adult Cuttlefish will resort to feeding on juvenile Cuttlefish when the habitat doesn’t have enough prey.
Although they have been observed at depths of up to 2,000 ft, Cuttlefish are often found in shallow water. Cuttlefish like to inhabit crevices in the coral reef, especially near rocks where they can better hide from potential prey. Although it is widely missing from the Americas, the cuttlefish is present in all of the oceans and seas of Europe, Africa, Asia, and Australia.
Credit: Maarten Slokker
This species migrates annually over the entirety of its native area. It lives in the territorial waters of tropical or seasonally dry throughout the summer. It migrates to the seas’ deeper waters in the winter.
Male Cuttlefish engage in a stunning spectacle when courting females, for whom competing males would engage in brutal combat. The female receives an ejection of sperm from each male, which she keeps in her oral cavity until she determines which one to utilize for fertilization. Males can spray water into a female’s mouth to push away other males’ sperm ejections before injecting their own to increase the likelihood of successful reproduction.
The eggs, known as sea grapes, are laid in bunches and then are marked with black ink by the mother and placed in a secure spot for further fertilization when she is set. At about two years old, Cuttlefish often perish after reproducing.
These soft-bodied mollusks are preyed upon by dolphins, sharks, sea lions, and even cuttlefish. Most of the time, they’re hiding and camouflaging to blend into the surroundings. Another defense tactic includes the cuttlefish squirting an ink cloud to divert attention as it tries to flee.
Cuttlefish can change their behavior in reaction to a predator by making threatening visual displays to deter those who hunt by sight or by swimming away from those that use other senses to locate prey. Sharks can detect electrical currents created by prey, thus, cuttlefish decrease these currents by reducing movement, breathing, and overall activity.
Facts about the Cuttlefish
- Cuttlefish are able to control their skin cells to change pigmentation.
- Cuttlefish are able to communicate with other Cuttlefish by using swimming and color shifts.
- Cuttlefish can live up to 3 years.
- Cuttlefish are color-blind despite their refined camouflaging abilities.
- Cuttlefish have acute detection of polarized light for prey targeting.
How smart are Cuttlefish?
In fact, scientists consider them to be among the most intelligent invertebrates. They are able to plan, are capable of navigating mazes and riddles, and even maintain their intellectual capacity as they age. Cuttlefish can recall where and when they last ate, and they may utilize this information to inform their future feeding choices.
Are Cuttlefish poisonous to touch?
Due to the fact that Flamboyant Cuttlefish do not inject their poisons through a bite or sting, they are officially considered to be toxic. However, in order to suffer any consequences, you would need to consume a Flamboyant Cuttlefish orally.
Are Cuttlefish aggressive to humans?
They leap at you, around your head with their tentacles, and then bite you with their incredibly strong and deadly beak when they are just 12 inches from your face. The equipment of a few divers has been attacked by Cuttlefish. Be sure to maintain a safe distance from Cuttlefish when diving underwater.
How do Cuttlefish change color?
Cuttlefish contain microscopic cells in their skin called chromatophores that are encircled by radial muscles that are regulated by neurons. The chromatophores are available in a variety of colors, and cuttlefish may alter their color and modify their reflectiveness by modifying the size of the chromatophores using said radial muscles.