Animal Species:Whitley's Cuttlefish – Sepia whitleyana (Iredale, 1926)
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.
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.
Both sexes up to 174 mm mantle length.
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.
Distribution by collection data
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.
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.