Animal Species:Giant Cuttlefish

Cuttlefishes are often described as the 'chameleons of the sea'.

Giant Cuttlefish swimming

Kevin Deacon © Kevin Deacon

Standard Common Name

Giant Cuttlefish

Identification

Using cells known as chromatophores, the Giant Cuttlefish can put on spectacular displays, changing colour in an instant. By raising parts of its skin, it can also change shape and texture to imitate rock, sand or seaweed. These displays have various interpretations to other marine creatures and may be used for camouflage, mating or even hypnotising prey.

Size range

1 m

Distribution

The Giant Cuttlefish is found in New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and parts of Tasmania, to Ningaloo, Western Australia.

Habitat

Giant Cuttlefish live in coastal waters, oceans, estuaries and seagrass.

Other behaviours and adaptations

Cuttlebones from inside cuttlefishes are commonly washed up onto beaches. These are not actually bones but are made from calcium carbonate and help control buoyancy. The Giant Cuttlefish, which grows to almost 1 m (including its 10 tentacles), has a cuttlebone of about 60 cm. As cuttlefishes are a preferred food for dolphins, seals and sharks, teeth marks can sometimes be seen in the cuttlebones.

Life cycle

The Giant Cuttlefish has a short life span of just two years. In the breeding season, thousands of Giant Cuttlefish come together to spawn, after which they soon die.

Classification

Species:
apama
Genus:
Sepia
Family:
Sepiidae
Order:
Sepiida
Class:
Cephalopoda
Phylum:
Mollusca
Kingdom:
Animalia

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Tags cuttle, cephalopods, molluscs, cephalopoda, mollusca, invertebrates, identification, wildlife of sydney,

1 comment

dave8603 - 2.07 PM, 13 July 2009
The Giant Cuttlefish spawning occurs in South Australia near Whyalla and people with a passion for these animals should go and see them during the months of May - September. There is an increasing concern with local South Australians that the new desalinisation plant to be built at Pt Lowly could have a devastating effect on the spawning grounds, as the effluent pipe from the plant will empty in the local vicinity of the spawning grounds.

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