Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Species
    australis
    Genus
    Sepioteuthis
    Family
    Loliginidae
    Order
    Teuthida
    Subclass
    Coleoidea
    Class
    Cephalopoda
    Phylum
    Mollusca
  • Size Range
    Mantle lengths up to 50cm.

This is a common squid caught by anglers at night, the black ink often staining piers and jetties.

Identification

Sepioteuthis australis presents colour patterns that vary from even orange-brown, to white with black bands, to almost transparent. They have diamond-shaped fins that extend the whole length of the body, widest mid-way along the body.

Habitat

This large squid is common over reefs, sand and seagrass beds in shallow, inshore waters. A neritic, demersal species commonly found in depths from the surface to 10m.

Distribution

Southern Australian coastal waters; from southern end of Great Barrier Reef around to Ningaloo Reef in Western Australia. Also found in coastal waters of the North Island of New Zealand.

Feeding and diet

S. australis are reported to be voracious feeders that often approach divers at night to feed on the fish and crustaceans attracted to the lights. They are predominantly active at night, but can also be seen active during the day. This squid is very fast at jet propulsion, and excellent at catching fast fish and shrimp.

Other behaviours and adaptations

S. australis often forms small schools (<10 individuals) that frequently move around in the evening and at night.

If threatened or disturbed, the squid can change colour and expel a blob of purple ink, which acts as a decoy while the animal quickly escapes using jet propulsion.

Breeding behaviours

Males use spectacular displays during courtship and when fighting off other males. Females lay their eggs in clumps of finger-like egg strings (2-6 eggs) at the bases of weed and seagrass. Egg strings are cylindrical when first laid but become more like a string of beads as they mature.

Economic impacts

This species is popular with recreational jig fishers while trawlers target spawning aggregations on a small scale.

References

  • Norman, M., (2000) Cephalopods- A World Guide, ConchBooks, Germany (Hackenheim)
  • Norman, M & A. Reid., (2000) A Guide to Squid, Cuttlefish and Octopuses of Australasia, CSIRO Publishing, Victoria (Collingwood)
  • Roper, C.F.E., M.J. Sweeney & C.E. Nauen, (1984) FAO species catalogue. Vol. 3. Cephalopods of the World: An annotated and illustrated catalogue of species of interest to fisheries, FAO Fish Synopsis, 125(3): 1-277.