Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Species
    apama
    Genus
    Sepia
    Family
    Sepiidae
    Order
    Sepiida
    Class
    Cephalopoda
    Phylum
    Mollusca
    Kingdom
    Animalia
  • Size Range
    1 m

Introduction

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

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.

Habitat

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

Distribution

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

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 history 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.