Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Species
    whitleyana
    Genus
    Sepia
    Family
    Sepiidae
    Order
    Sepiida
    Subclass
    Coleoidea
    Class
    Cephalopoda
    Phylum
    Mollusca
  • Size Range
    Both sexes up to 174 mm mantle length.

Whitley’s Cuttlefish is often confused with Sepia smithi, as the difference in species is only clearly identified through differences in cuttlebone; S. smithi has a narrow cuttlebone with an inner core that is round, shiny, and thickened, while in S. whitleyana the cuttlebone is wider and the inner cone is thin, narrow and not shiny. Preserved male specimens of S. whitleyana have distinctive longitudinal white bars, but lack the whitish bands at the base of the fins present in S. Smithi.

Identification

Sepia whitleyana is bluish grey in colour, with pinkish spots on the dorsal of the mantle. Males have narrow longitudinal whitish bands. It is a fairly large, broad animal with long, slender arms and tentacles.
The cuttlebone is elongate-ova l- its width around 50% of its length - with a slightly narrowed anterior end. Dorsal surface is coarsley pustulose, with indistinct ribs. The ventral surface is slightly swollen anteriorly, and deeply excavated posteriorly - becoming very thin. Spine long and curved, without keel.

Habitat

Whitley’s Cuttlefish appears to associate with muddy substrates and has been caught at depths up to 160m. This species is sometimes trawled offshore north of Sydney and Newcastle and can appear in Sydney fish markets.

Distribution

Sepia whitleyana is found in the Southwestern Pacific region; in eastern Australian coastal waters from the Gulf of Carpentaria southward to off Port Stephens. This species has been trawled as far south as Ulladulla in New South Wales.

References

  • Jereb, P., & C.F.E Roper (eds) (2005) Cephalopods of the World: Chambered Nautiluses and Sepioids, Food & Agriculture Organization of the United Nations Catalogue for Fishery Purposes, Rome, No. 4, Vol. 1
  • Lu, C.C (1998) A Synopsis of Sepiidae in Australian waters (Cephalopoda: Sepiodiea). In: Voss, N.A., Vecchione, M., Toll, R.B. & Sweeney, M.J (Eds) Systematics and Biogeography of Cephalopods. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington DC, Vol. 586, 159-190.
  • Watson-Russell, C. (1983) Cuttlefish of Sydney Harbour, Australian Natural History, 20(5): 159-164.