Common Cuttlefish – Sepia officinalis

The Common Cuttlefish, also known as sepia, is a species in the genus of the sepia and thus belongs to the class of the cephalopods.

Common Cuttlefish - Sepia officinalis Cephalopoda diving canary islands species atlantic ocean canaries
Common Cuttlefish – Sepia officinalis


Sepia officinalis has an elongated body with the shape of an American football. Around the mouth are eight, in comparison to the Common Octopus, small arms. Two more are hidden in the mantle and are used only when hunting. Along the horizontal middle of its body is one long fin.

The colouration of the Common Cuttlefish is variable. Through special muscles, it can change it very quickly and thus camouflage itself against enemies and prey. On his back he often shows a zebra-like pattern.

A special feature of its anatomy are their lens eyes. With these Sepia officinalis can see almost as well as Vertebrates.

They can reach a maximum size of 50cm.

Habitat and Distribution

The Common Cuttlefish lives on sandy grounds, often near rocky reefs, in depths up to 200m. When diving in the Canaries it is very common. Sepia officinalis is also distributed from the Shettland Island via Norway, the North Sea, the west coast of the British Isles, Madeira, the Mediterranean Sea all the way to Senegal.


Sepia officinalis lives solitaire. During the day he is usually buried in the sand.
It is a night-time hunter and feeds on crustaceans and small fish. Once the Common Cuttlefish captured his prey, it opens it with a kind of beak and injects a poison that paralyses the victim. By enzymes in the saliva the inside of the prey is liquefied and then sucked out. This can take up to an hour.