Animal Species:Smith's Cuttlefish – Sepia smithi Hoyle, 1885

This species can be recognised by its pale body colour and numerous papillae scattered over its upper surfaces.

Alternative Name/s

Smith's Cuttlefish


Sepia smithi can be pale buff pinkish brown, light brown, or greyish brown with white blotches and spots – which are sometimes joined to produce irregular transverse bands. Three pairs of arms have a band of orange-red colouring, while sucker rims are yellow brown. Paired dorsal ‘eye spots’ are present in both sexes, and the dorsal mantle often has pinkish or purplish scattered spots and blotches. The club has around 20 rows of small suckers.

The cuttlebone is oval with distinctive yellowish ridge at posterior end. The ventral surface is flat with a broad median groove in the striated zone. Dorsal surface is granulose with three distinct longitudinal ribs.

Size range

Males up to 14 cm mantle length, Females up to 17 cm mantle length.

Similar Species

·Sepia whitleyana


Smith’s Cuttlefish is found in the Indo-Pacific region; northern Australian waters from Shark Bay in Western Australia around to Moreton Bay in Queensland, including the Timor and Arafura seas.

Distribution by collection data

Biomaps map of Sepia smithi specimens in the Australian Museum collection.

What does this mean?


S. smithi is often found on sandy and muddy substrates and is known from depths between 10 to 138 metres.

Other behaviours and adaptations

S. smithi thought to be a day-active species, being observed at night lying on the sea floor or burying into the sand.

Mating and reproduction

Male displays during courtship include irregular zebra stripes and a wide greenish band around the base of the fins.



What does this mean?


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.

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)

Allison Runck
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