Sepia mestus

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Sepia mestus
Sepia mestus (2016).jpg
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Mollusca
Class: Cephalopoda
Order: Sepiida
Family: Sepiidae
Genus: Sepia
S. mestus
Binomial name
Sepia mestus
Gray, 1849[2]

Sepia mestus, also known as the reaper cuttlefish or red cuttlefish,[3] is a species of cuttlefish native to the southwestern Pacific Ocean, specifically Escape Reef off Queensland (15°47′S 145°47′E / 15.783°S 145.783°E / -15.783; 145.783) to Murrays Beach off Jervis Bay (35°08′S 150°46′E / 35.133°S 150.767°E / -35.133; 150.767). Reports of this species from China and Vietnam are now known to be misidentifications. S. mestus lives at a depth of between 0 and 22 m.[4]

S. mestus exhibits sexual dimorphism. Females grow to a mantle length (ML) of 124 mm, while males do not exceed 77 mm ML.[4]

The type specimen was collected off the Australian coast and is deposited at The Natural History Museum in London.[5]

Life cycle and mating behavior[edit]

To attract a potential mate, a male will perform various displays to catch the attention of a female. Once a male is successful in attracting a mate, the male will insert the hectocotylus into the female’s mantle cavity to fertilize the female. The female will then lay her eggs nearby.[6]

After spawning and brooding, male and female adults usually die shortly after.[6] Like most members of the class Cephalopoda, S. mestus are gonochoric. After the embryos develop for about two months, they will hatch and remain in a planktonic stage briefly before developing into adults.[7]

Video of Sepia mestus hunting in waters off Sydney. (2014)


S. mestus is endemic to Australia (Reid et al. 2005), ranging along the east coast from northern Queensland to Jervis Bay in New South Wales (Reid et al.2005).[8]


S. mestus lives in depths up to 22 m. [8]

Tropical climate[6]

S. mestus typically lives on rocky reefs and is typically seen under ledges (Norman 2003).[8]

Conservation status[edit]

Least concern[8]


Increasing levels of CO2 in the atmosphere causes ocean acidification and is potentially a threat to all cuttlefish. According to studies, high CO2 concentrations, cuttlefishes tend to lay down a denser cuttlebone. This could negatively affect cuttlefish buoyancy regulation (Gutowska et al. 2010).[6]


  1. ^ Barratt, I.; Allcock, L. (2012). "Sepia mestus". The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2012: e.T162642A934873. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2012-1.RLTS.T162642A934873.en. Downloaded on 19 February 2018.
  2. ^ a b Julian Finn (2016). "Sepia mestus Gray, 1849". World Register of Marine Species. Flanders Marine Institute. Retrieved 19 February 2018.
  3. ^ "The Reaper Cuttlefish - Whats That Fish!". Retrieved 2016-10-03.
  4. ^ a b Reid, A., P. Jereb, & C.F.E. Roper 2005. Family Sepiidae. In: P. Jereb & C.F.E. Roper, eds. Cephalopods of the world. An annotated and illustrated catalogue of species known to date. Volume 1. Chambered nautiluses and sepioids (Nautilidae, Sepiidae, Sepiolidae, Sepiadariidae, Idiosepiidae and Spirulidae). FAO Species Catalogue for Fishery Purposes. No. 4, Vol. 1. Rome, FAO. pp. 57–152.
  5. ^ Current Classification of Recent Cephalopoda
  6. ^ a b c d "Sepia mestus, reaper cuttlefish". Retrieved 2018-02-25.
  7. ^ "Cephalopod | class of mollusks". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 2018-02-25.
  8. ^ a b c d "Cuttlefish - Sepia mestus - Details - Encyclopedia of Life". Encyclopedia of Life. Retrieved 2018-02-25.

External links[edit]