The common cuttlefish or European common cuttlefish (Sepia officinalis) is one of the largest and best-known cuttlefish species. It grows to 49 cm in mantle length (ML) and 4 kg in weight. Animals from subtropical seas are smaller and rarely exceed 30 cm in ML.
The common cuttlefish is native to at least the Mediterranean Sea, North Sea, and Baltic Sea, although subspecies have been proposed as far south as South Africa. It lives on sand and mud seabeds to a depth of around 200 m. As in most cuttlefish species, spawning occurs in shallow waters.
Predators and prey
In the wild, S. officinalis is known to prey upon a wide variety of animals. These include: bony fishes, copepods, crustaceans (including Astacus leptodactylus, Carcinus sp., Crangon sp., Daphnia sp., Gammarus sp., Mugil sp., Mysis sp., Penaeus sp., Praunus sp., Sphaeroma sp., Squilla sp.), decapod cephalopods, gastropods, lamellibranches, nemerteans, octopods, ostracods, polychaetes, and pteropods.
A 2008 study on S. officinalis revealed that cuttlefish embryos, if visually exposed to a certain species of prey (e.g. crabs), will hunt primarily for that prey in later life. S. officinalis usually prefer shrimp to crabs, but when the embryos were exposed to crabs and the embryos had hatched, the young cuttlefish switched preferences and proceeded to hunt the crabs more often than the shrimp.
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- Taxa Associated with the Family Sepiidae Keferstein, 1866